Foster Farms' purchase of Pilgrim's plant 'on track'

by Bryan Salvage
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LIVINGSTON, CALIF. — Foster Farms purchase agreement for Pilgrim's Pride’s Farmerville, La. complex is almost complete and transition plans are in place, according to the purchaser. The sale will be subject to customary closing conditions, including government approval and bankruptcy court approval, and is anticipated to close within 30 days after signing.

"As of May 8, 2009, Pilgrims Pride will idle the Farmerville complex, and its operations will be transferred to other Pilgrim's Pride facilities," said Ron Foster, Foster Farms chief executive. "Foster Farms is looking forward to expanding our operations into the state of Louisiana. Foster Farms anticipates upgrading and adding to the capabilities of the Farmerville complex. These enhancements, when operational and used in conjunction with the experienced local work force, will allow us to build a strong sales base, leading to a return to full double shift capacity, over time, after Foster Farm's purchase."

Pilgrim's Pride has committed to placing eggs in the Farmerville hatchery after the purchase agreement is signed, according to Mr. Foster. Once hatched, these chicks will be placed in local farms owned by independent growers. Foster Farms' operation will continue to utilize the established network of its experienced local growers to grow chicks, as well as the pullets and breeders necessary for an ongoing supply of hatching eggs.

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