Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lakeport was a thriving stand alone income trust. New foreign owner Labatts lays off 143 workers


Image: NDP MP David Christopherson: Job killer

There is some justice in this world. The NDP supported a double tax on domestic investors, and no tax on foreigners, resulting in the takeover of Lakeport Brewing Income Fund by Belgian based Labatts. Now 143 workers in Hamilton are out of jobs and on the street, which would not have occurred had Lakeport remained the thriving stand alone brewer that it was. The justice comes from the fact that the MP for Hamilton is David Christopherson.....an NDP. Maybe he can explain to these 143 newly unemployed people in his riding why he supported a tax measure that favours foreigners, causes REAL tax leakage, and whose false claims of alleged tax leakage were “proven” with 18 pages of blacked out documents....a point that I made in a public gathering of David Christoperson’s in Hamilton in the fall of 2007?


Lakeport closing April 30
TheSpec.com - BreakingNews -
Lakeport closing April 30

Production being shipped to London

John Burman

Lakeport Brewery will close its doors April 30.

Workers were summoned to a downtown Hamilton hotel this morning and given the news that their jobs are gone.
The closure affects 143 people - 99 hourly workers, another 22 hourly workers on layoff and 22 salaried staff. Employees have been told not to come back to work until Monday.
In a release,  owner Labatt said the decision is “the result of the need to improve operating efficiency in a demanding market and the unexpected excess capacity in (our) brewing network”.
Charlie Angelakos, Labbatt vice-president of corporate affairs, said in a release that closing Lakeport is the “only rational business decision available to us”.
He said Hamilton is among the brewer’s highest-cost plants. London is its most efficient.
Night shift workers at the Burlington Street brewery got notices at 4 a.m. this morning telling them to go to the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel for a meeting. Off-duty workers were receiving calls as late as 4:45 giving them the same message.
One worker who was at the  Crowne Plaza said managers “just turned red and walked away” when asked what was happening.
Staff said the closure is a “stab in the back”.
The 143 members of Teamsters Local 938 working at the Burlington Street brewery ratified a three-year contract with Labatt Breweries Canada on Feb. 24, 2008.
In 2007, Labatt offers $201.4 million for Lakeport, the Hamilton brewery that created the buck-a-beer market. Lakeport CEO Teresa Cascioli, who transformed the near-bankrupt company into a fierce competitor to Canada's brewing goliaths, gained $43 million from the sale of her 21 per cent stake in the company.
Workers wondered if they aren’t a victim of their own success. Some believe Labatt plans to close the brewery to close out the buck-a-beer market.
Watch thespec.com for details and read the full story in Wednesday's Spectator.
Labatt keeping Lakeport open TheSpec.com - Business - Labatt keeping Lakeport open

Steve Arnold
The Hamilton Spectator

Timeline:

1946 -- Andrew Peller opens Ontario's first independent brewery in decades, 14 years after the Regal Brewing Company shut its city plant.

1981 -- Amstel Brewery Canada Ltd. buys the Burlington Street brewery.

1991 -- Amstel pulls up stakes and closes after steady losses. Ninety-four jobs are lost.

March 1992 -- Bill Sharpe purchases the defunct brewery from Amstel including rights to Amstel's local brand names such as Hamilton Mountain, Laker and Steeler from Heineken. Company is renamed Lakeport Brewing Co. He owns 30 per cent. Cott Beverages Ltd. owns 70 per cent.

December 1992 -- Loblaw's President's Choice Premium Draft Beer -- made by Lakeport Brewing -- hits Ontario beer stores at $5.95 for a six-pack.

December 1993 -- Lakeport introduces a 7.3 per cent alcohol content version of Around Ontario beer. It sells well in Russia.

November 1996 -- Bill Sharpe and Vincent Lubertino (Lakeport financial vice-president) buys out Cott for $17 million.

November 1998 -- Lakeport seeks bankruptcy court protection, owing secured and unsecured creditors $17 million.

1999 -- Teresa Cascioli is named president of Lakeport after the brewery emerges from bankruptcy protection. She takes control of Lakeport after her company, Alphacorp Holdings, invested $3.1 million in equity and working capital.

January 2005 -- Cascioli purchases 100 per cent of the fast-growing Burlington Street beer plant with money from Toronto-based Vengrowt h Capital Partners and the National Bank of Canada.

February 1, 2007 -- Lakeport attracts a $201.4-million takeover bid from market leader Labatt Brewing Co.

March 30, 2010 – Labatt informs workers the plant is closing.

Everything gone after April 30 closure

March 30, 2010
John Burman
Lakeport Brewery will close its doors forever April 30.

Labatt Breweries of Canada which bought the brewery in 2007 says the decision is final and the equipment in the building will be hauled away as Labatt seeks to “improve its operating efficiency in a demanding market.”

Workers were summoned to a downtown Hamilton hotel this morning and given the news that their jobs are gone.

The closure affects 143 people - 99 hourly workers, another 22 hourly workers on layoff and 22 salaried staff. Employees have been told not to come back to work until Monday.

Jeff Ryan, Labatt’s director or corporate affairs, said the brewery will close and “the decision is final.”

Ryan said d the decision is “the result of the need to improve operating efficiency in a demanding market and the unexpected excess capacity in (our) brewing network”.

Charlie Angelakos, Labatt vice-president of corporate affairs, said in a statement that closing Lakeport is the “only rational business decision available to us”.

He said Hamilton is among the brewer’s highest-cost plants. London is its most efficient.

Night shift workers at the Burlington Street brewery got notices handed to them at 4 a.m. this morning telling them to go to the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel for a meeting. Off-duty workers were receiving calls as late as 4:45 giving them the same message.


One worker who was at the Crowne Plaza said managers “just turned red and walked away” when asked what was happening.

Other workers say the closure is a “stab in the back”, adding they have long suspected Labatt bought the brewery in 2007 with an aim to acquiring its market share and shut it down.

“Really, this is no big surprise,”said operator Kim Norgate, of Dundas, before she went into the meeting she’d been phoned about at 5:45 a.m. Norgate, who has worked at the brewery 18 years said she intends to wait and see what the severance means for her.

John Newton, a filler, got the word at 4 a.m. when a supervisor came to him on the line and handed him an envelope, explaining there’d be a meeting at 8:30 a.m.

Newton too believes Labatt bought the plant to eventually close it. he, like many other workers going in and out of the meeting sid they believed the Burlington Street East operation was efficient and could hold its own for market share.

Ryan said in an interview closing Hamilton and moving production to London, Ont., will not affect the Lakeport brand price.

Lakeport prices, which pioneered the ‘buck-a-beer’ market will “remain the same,” he said

The 143 members of Teamsters Local 938 working at the Burlington Street brewery ratified a three-year contract with Labatt Breweries Canada on Feb. 24, 2008.

Ryan said there are no extra jobs at the London plant at the moment although that may change in future and Hamilton workers are being encouraged to apply for any that come up.

Application for those jobs would be subject to the London plant’s collective agreement, with the United Food and Commercial Workers, not the Teamsters as in Hamilton.

In 2007, Labatt offers $201.4 million for Lakeport, the Hamilton brewery that created the buck-a-beer market. Lakeport CEO Teresa Cascioli, who transformed the near-bankrupt company into a fierce competitor to Canada's brewing goliaths, gained $43 million from the sale of her 21 per cent stake in the company.

Ryan said there are two reasons for closing the Hamilton plant after purchasing it in 2007. One is “unexpected” excess capacity caused by a general decline in beer consumption.

Additionally, since 2007, an agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice when InBev and Anheuser-Busch merged in 2008 resulted in the sale of Labatt USA, said Ryan

As a result of this decision, Labatt undertook a review and it was clear transferring the production to London would be substantially less expensive than upgrading the Hamilton brewery, He said.

Hamilton production will fit into London’s excess capacity, he said. And London is one of Labatt most efficient and cost effective plants, he said.

The London plant, he said is twice as cost efficient as Hamilton.

Workers going into and then leaving the meeting wondered if they aren’t a victim of their own success. Many believe Labatt is closing the brewery to close out the buck-a-beer market.

Before the meeting, many workers appeared to be wary but light-hearted, announcing they have been through many similar scenarios during the life of the brewery, anticipating the worst each time.

It appeared few believed Labatt would shut down Lakeport at the beginning of the beer drinking season.

“For heaven’s sake, the temperature is going to be 24C on Friday ... summer’s coming and people are going to buy beer,” said one man who – as virtually all those leaving the meeting – declined to give his name.

“I don’t know what I am going to do. I am 52 years old,” said one man who at least could take comfort in the fact he is better off than one of his buddies.

“My friend just bought a new house. Was supposed to move in tomorrow.”

Others said they could not see how a plant which was efficient enough to have between 11 and 15 per cent of the Canadian beer market three years ago and has won efficiency awards since suddenly be thought of as an inefficient operation.

“Just proves they bought us to shut us down,” said one.

Many had unkind things to say about Cascioli, the former Lakeport CEO, who gained $43 million for her 21 per cent share of the company.

“Teresa sold us out,” echoed on the sidewalk outside the hotel.

Watch thespec.com for details and read the full story in Wednesday's Spectator.

6 comments:

Kephalos said...

I wonder if Judy from Winnipeg, the Stoolie of Flaherty, will be crying in her beer at the House of Commons cafeteria?

Will the Master Carpenter of Parliament and tax expert from Winnipeg have a wet dream about crying over spilled beer?

Dr Mike said...

What a ridiculous turn of events---Lakeport was a premium income trust generating huge profits & huge distributions for it`s owners.

The tax generated was large.

Jim Flaherty , the Cons , the Dippers , the Provincial & Territorial Finance Ministers & the media are to blame for this result.

The unfortunate thing is that no one will be held accountable despite the best efforts of CAITi & it`s members.

If I was one of those workers , would I be pissed-off---hopefully they will march on the MP for the area & ask him why he voted for the trust tax.

What a shame.

Dr Mike Popovich

Anonymous said...

How much recirculable-cash has been eroded from the Canadian economy because of the Flaherty-Harper policy on income trusts?

What are the economic numbers on total income losses re (a) migration of jobs (esp. at the "juicy" senior management level) to other jurisdictions, (b) loss of investment income, and (c) loss of tax revenue on (a) and (b)?

Anonymous said...

Disgusting how Hamilton's MP personally assisted and helped ensure these job losses and the loss of a successful brand. Typical NDP stupidity ...

Bruce Benson said...

I wonder how many of these workers supported the Income Trust Tax? What goes around comes around.

evision said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.