Pacific Regeneration Technologies Inc. ("PRT") (TSX:PRT.UN) announced today that it will close PRT Pelton, its seedling nursery facility in Maple Ridge, BC. The closure will take place in phases over the next few months and will result in the eventual layoff of approximately 60 employees.
"The closure is the result of a major downturn in demand for tree seedlings across PRT's market areas," said Rob Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of PRT. "Unfortunately, PRT Pelton has the highest cost structure of our 15 North American nursery operations. After a careful review, we have decided to close it in order to rationalize capacity. Following the closure, we will be able to increase overall efficiency by taking advantage of lower cost unused capacity elsewhere."
Miller continued, "PRT does not expect any improvement in demand for seedlings in 2009 but does expect demand to improve eventually as U.S. housing starts recover. Seedling demand may also strengthen if jurisdictions across North America invest in tree planting to combat global warming, and if British Columbia accelerates its program to replant forests devastated by the Mountain Pine Beetle. PRT will retain key personnel and nursery assets from the closed facility in order to meet future demand as markets recover."