GRANBY, Quebec-Agropur has closed its Saint-Alexandre, Quebec, plant laying off 50 people. The co-operative said last month the decision to close the plant, just east of Montreal, was based on economic reasons.

"The decision handed down by the WTO in 2002 has significantly limited our export capacity," said Louis Lefebvre, president of Agropur's industrial division.

"Despite our efforts to find a new vocation for the Saint-Alexandre plant, it had been, from then on, functioning over short periods, punctuated by stoppages."

Founded in 1938, Agropur calls itself the largest dairy co-operative in Canada, with sales of more than $1.9 billion.