News 451 views update:Jan 20, 2010

Pilgrim's Pride closing poultry processing plant

Aimed at improving capacity utilisation and reducing costs, Pilgrim's Pride announces plans to close its chicken processing plant in Dalton, Ga., US, within 60 days and consolidate production at the company's processing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., US.

Approx. 280 employees who work at the Dalton plant will be affected by the closing. Pilgrim's Pride will provide transition programmes to employees whose positions are eliminated to assist them in securing new employment, filing for unemployment and obtaining other applicable benefits.

The hatchery in Cohutta, Ga., will continue to operate. Other live production operations will also continue to function, but as a part of the Chattanooga complex or other nearby operations. Approx. 120 independent contract growers who currently supply birds to the Dalton processing plant will be transitioned to begin supplying the company's Chattanooga plant or other nearby company facilities within approx. 90 days.

There will not be any disruption in the supply of product to retail, foodservice and industrial customers as a result of closing the Dalton facility.

"The closing of the Dalton plant is part of our plan to maximise our capacity utilisation and operate more efficiently as a market-driven company," said Don Jackson, president and CEO. "We will continue to look for opportunities to improve our cost structure as we reorganise the company. While the decision to eliminate jobs is always painful, we are taking decisive steps now to protect the greatest number of jobs in order to restructure our business and ultimately emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger, more efficient competitor."

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Pigrim's Pride

Natalie Berkhout

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