Pilgrim’s to close Boaz plant, consolidate operations

by Bryan Salvage
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GREELEY, Colo. – Effective Jan. 24, 2014, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, a part of JBS USA, plans to expand its operations in Russellville, Ala., and Douglas, Ga., to absorb its poultry processing operations in Boaz, Ala., which will be closed. The closure is part of the company's plan to realize more than $20 million in incremental margin.

Boaz, which was bought by Pilgrim's in 2007, is the company's smallest operation regarding processing capacity and employs approximately 1,100 people. Many Boaz employees will be offered employment opportunities at other nearby Pilgrim's operations and all employees will be offered retention incentives, the company said in a press release. The company anticipates contract growers supplying the Boaz operation will have an opportunity to meet the supply needs of Pilgrim's operations in Russellville and Douglas.

In addition, Pilgrim's  plans to invest approximately $25 million to expand large-bird deboning capacity and modernize utilities at its Mt. Pleasant, Texas, facility. Pilgrim’s also plans to invest approximately $10 million to upgrade its feed mill in Falkville, Ala., and add approximately 100 jobs at the Douglas and Russellville operations. The company previously announced an investment of $25 million to upgrade its feed mill and processing operations in Enterprise, Ala.

These strategic decisions will allow Pilgrim's to optimize its operational network and efficiently deploy resources and capital to facilities with improved infrastructure, greater scale and more favorable opportunities for long-term, sustainable profitability, according to a news release.

"Today's announcement reflects the strength of our balance sheet, our willingness to strategically invest in our business and our continued commitment to the pursuit of operational excellence," said Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s president and CEO. "Given our decision to consolidate operations, our intent is to offer retention incentives to encourage many of our Boaz team members to remain with the company in different capacities. We are confident these capital-improvement projects will position the company, our stakeholders and our team members for success for many years to come."

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