Cargill ground beef processing plant in Columbia, South Carolina
Cargill believes the acquisition of this plant in Columbia, South Carolina will help retail and foodservice customers.

WICHITA, Kan. – Cargill bought a ground beef processing plant located in Columbia, South Carolina, from FPL Food LLC. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of March, were not disclosed.

More than 200 individuals are employed at the 100,000-sq.-ft. plant, which Cargill said complements the company’s meat processing facilities in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Cargill believes the acquisition will enhance its capability to serve eastern retail and foodservice customers. Cargill’s North American beef business is a leading producer of ground beef products in the world, with numerous processing plants in the US and Canada.

The acquisition comes as rebuilding of the US cattle herd is underway. John Keating, president of Wichita-based Cargill Beef, said in a statement that encouraging trends the company has observed include rising demand for premium gourmet hamburgers. Increased supplies of beef should benefit Cargill’s customers over the next few years.

“Cargill ground beef customers served by this plant will benefit from closer proximity to supplies and improved transit time for their orders,” Keating said.  “We are acquiring an excellent facility, with outstanding people and capabilities.  This acquisition underscores our ongoing commitment to grow our protein business and will enable us to better serve retail and foodservice customers in a region where people love ground beef.”

FPL founder Francois Paul Léger said the acquisition is a win-win for FPL and Cargill. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to remain a key supplier of quality beef to the plant and know that the fine people working there will become part of Cargill’s terrific beef team,” he said. “This sale allows FPL Food to focus on its core business of raising and harvesting cattle.”