Approximately 600 Jobs to be Eliminated as El Dorado Facility Converts to Supply Plant; Company Also Plans to Close Distribution Center in El Paso, Texas PITTSBURG, Texas, July 15 /EMWPresswire-FirstCall/ -- Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (NYSE: PPC) today announced plans to consolidate the tray-pack chicken business from its El Dorado, Ark., processing plant into six other case-ready facilities. Following the transition, which is expected to be completed within 60 days, the El Dorado facility will operate as a supply plant. Approximately 600 of the 1,215 positions at the El Dorado plant will be eliminated by Sept. 19, 2008. Most of the positions eliminated will be hourly jobs in chicken processing. Contract growers and employees in live operations will not be affected. Pilgrim's Pride will provide transition programs to employees whose positions are eliminated to assist them in securing new employment, filing for unemployment and other applicable benefits. "Since March, we have been conducting a thorough review of all our production facilities to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible in response to the unprecedented challenges facing our company and our industry," said Clint Rivers, Pilgrim's Pride president and chief executive officer. "We are confident that the changes announced today, which conclude the formal review of our operations, will help position Pilgrim's Pride as a stronger competitor. By consolidating the tray-pack volume from El Dorado into our six remaining case-ready plants, we can position our entire case-ready division to operate more efficiently. As a supply plant, our El Dorado facility will be able to take full advantage of its efficient live-production cost structure to help us deliver even better value to our customers." In April, Pilgrim's Pride acknowledged that the El Dorado plant was among those being reviewed for possible closure or consolidation. Over the past several months, the company had been working with elected officials and the union representing members at the plant to improve its financial performance. However, union members recently rejected proposed benefits changes that would have made the plant more competitive. Separately, the company also announced plans to close its distribution center in El Paso, Texas within the next 60 days. That facility employs approximately 34 people. Following the closing, Pilgrim's Pride will operate a total of six distribution centers in Texas, Arizona and Utah. "While the decision to close or consolidate locations is always difficult, we believe the actions we are announcing today are absolutely necessary for our business and our company," said Mr. Rivers. The company does not expect to incur any material financial charges related to the announcements today.
About Pilgrim's Pride Pilgrim's Pride Corporation is the largest chicken company in the United States and Puerto Rico and the second-largest in Mexico. Pilgrim's Pride employs approximately 53,500 people and operates 36 chicken processing plants and 12 prepared-foods facilities. Pilgrim's Pride products are sold to foodservice, retail and frozen entree customers. The Company's primary distribution is through retailers, foodservice distributors and restaurants throughout the United States and Puerto Rico and in the Northern and Central regions of Mexico. For more information, please visit http://www.pilgrimspride.com.
Media Contact: Ray Atkinson Director, Corporate Communications (903) 434-1811 Investor Contact: Gary Rhodes Vice President, Corporate Communications & Investor Relations (903) 434-1495 Forward-Looking Statements Statements contained in this press release that state the intentions, plans, hopes, beliefs, anticipations, expectations or predictions of the future of Pilgrim's Pride Corporation and its management, including as to changes in pricing, demand and market conditions for chicken products and profitability, are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that the actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements include: matters affecting the poultry industry generally, including fluctuations in the commodity prices of feed ingredients, chicken and turkey; additional outbreaks of avian influenza or other diseases, either in our own flocks or elsewhere, affecting our ability to conduct our operations and/or demand for our poultry products; contamination of our products, which has previously and can in the future lead to product liability claims and product recalls; exposure to risks related to product liability, product recalls, property damage and injuries to persons, for which insurance coverage is expensive, limited and potentially inadequate; management of our cash resources, particularly in light of our substantial leverage; restrictions imposed by, and as a result of, our substantial leverage; changes in laws or regulations affecting our operations or the application thereof; new immigration legislation or increased enforcement efforts in connection with existing immigration legislation that cause our costs of doing business to increase, cause us to change the way in which we do business, or otherwise disrupt our operations; competitive factors and pricing pressures or the loss of one or more of our largest customers; inability to consummate, or effectively integrate, any acquisition, including integrating our recent acquisition of Gold Kist, or realize the associated cost savings and operating synergies currently anticipated; currency exchange rate fluctuations, trade barriers, exchange controls, expropriation and other risks associated with foreign operations; disruptions in international markets and distribution channels; and the impact of uncertainties of litigation as well as other risks described under "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Pilgrim's Pride Corporation undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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