Sara Lee to reopen Kansas meat plant

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DOWNERS GROVE, ILL. — Sara Lee Corp. announced May 28 that it will reopen a former ConAgra Foods, Inc. meat processing facility in Wyandotte County, Kas., which will be renovated to operate as a sliced meat plant producing products for the firm's Hillshire Farm and Sara Lee brands. The company plans to invest more than $130 million to transform the 187,000 square-foot plant, which will employ approximately 250 workers and is scheduled to be operational by 2011.

"This industry-leading facility will reinforce our competitive advantage in value-added meats, one of Sara Lee’s top strategic categories and long-term growth drivers," said CJ Fraleigh, executive vice president and chief executive of the company's North American retail and foodservice business. "It will help us further build our Hillshire Farm and Sara Lee brands, both leaders in the fast-growing category of premium lunchmeat."

Government officials in Wyandotte County approved a measure that will grant Sara Lee a 10-year, 75% tax abatement for the project. In return, the company said it would set aside 55% of the new jobs the project will create for county residents.

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