Pasta plant on hold

AGT says it’s a maybe for 2013

Alliance Grain Traders Inc. has put its plan to build a $50-million pasta-processing plant in Regina on hold, citing uncertainty in the North American market and the need to focus on working capital.

“Pending developments, such as the de-monopolization of the Canadian Wheat Board and the proposed sale of Viterra to Glencore, as well as the free trade negotiations between Canada and the EU, will continue to reshape the landscape of the industry,” Murad Al-Katib, president and CEO said in the company’s first-quarter report to shareholders May 10.”Accordingly, management believes it is prudent to focus on our balance sheet at this time and improve our business metrics.”

Al-Katib said the company is still planning to proceed with the project in 2013 or “when we feel the time is right to do so.”

The company’s announcement last October that it would build the plant was attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who heralded the plan as proof the government’s decision to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly would attract investment and create jobs.

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