SALISBURY, Md. – Perdue Farms announced the company has sold it Dothan, Ala.-based chicken processing facility to Wayne Farms LLC. Both companies expect the sale to close Dec. 1, 2012.

The sale includes the Dothan processing plant, hatchery and a feed mill and grow-out office in DeFuniak Springs, Fla. Perdue said the company will continue to operate a hatchery in Samson, Ala., to support a processing plant in Perry, Ga. Officials with Perdue said the closing will not affect the company's breeder operations in Florida and Alabama.

The sale is in line with Perdue's strategy to expand the company's premium branded and value-added products which include all-vegetarian-fed chicken within the Perdue brand. Perdue also has new lines of prepared products, plus antibiotic-free chicken, turkey and pork and, most recently, organic chicken.

“The Perdue brand is the number-one brand of fresh chicken in the US,” said Jim Leighton, president, Perdue Foods. “Over the past two years, we’ve expanded distribution of our branded products across the US, and we’ve also become the leader in both antibiotic-free and organic chicken.

“We are actively pursuing a strategy to elevate our products and brands and to build relationships with customers who recognize the value of those brands and the trust in the Perdue name,” Leighton said.
The Dothan facility primarily supplies commodity-based products. Perdue plans to consolidate branded and value-added production from Dothan into existing capacity at other Perdue facilities, especially those with lower grain transportation costs and all-vegetarian-fed programs, the company said. The sale will not affect Perdue’s customers.

“While the Dothan plant no longer fits our strategies, I’m pleased Wayne Farms will be able to utilize the plant and especially pleased that they intend to keep all the employees and grower contracts,” Leighton said. “Wayne Farms is a leader in business-to-business sales and Dothan’s capabilities are good fit.

"The pending sale is a win for both companies, the employees, the growers and the Dothan community,” he added.

Wayne Farms is the fifth largest vertically integrated poultry producer in the US with annual sales of more than $1.4 billion, according to the company’s website. The company operates 10 fresh and further-processed poultry facilities throughout the Southeastern US, and produces more than 1.8 billion lbs. of poultry products annually.

The company employs 8,900 people across eight complexes. Wayne Farms fresh plants are in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia. The company’s further processing plants are in Decatur, Ala.