PITTSBURG, Texas, April 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (Pink Sheets: PGPDQ) today announced plans to close its chicken processing plant in Dalton, Ga., within 60 days and consolidate production at the company's processing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. These actions are aimed at improving the company's capacity utilization and reducing its costs.
Approximately 280 employees who work at the Dalton plant will be affected by the closing. Pilgrim's Pride will provide transition programs 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. Approximately 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 approximately 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 maximize our capacity utilization and operate more efficiently as a market-driven company," said Don Jackson, president and chief executive officer. "We will continue to look for opportunities to improve our cost structure as we reorganize 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."
As previously announced, the Company filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions on December 1, 2008. The Chapter 11 cases are being jointly administered under case number 08-45664. The Company's operations in Mexico and certain operations in the United States were not included in the filing and continue to operate as usual outside of the Chapter 11 process.
Additional information about the restructuring is available at the Company's website www.pilgrimspride.com or via the Company's restructuring information line at (888) 830-4659.
About Pilgrim's Pride
Pilgrim's Pride Corporation employs approximately 47,000 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 14 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The Company's primary distribution is through retailers and foodservice distributors. For more information, please visit http://www.pilgrimspride.com.
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 expectations as to the reorganization of the Company's business and finances to resolve its operational and liquidity issues, expectations to emerge from Chapter 11 proceedings stronger and more competitive, the sufficiency of liquidity to be provided by the debtor-in-possession financing facility, anticipated authorizations being requested of the Bankruptcy Court, including in respect of approval of the proposed sale of the Farmerville, La., chicken complex, and expectations as to the ability to make post-petition payments, 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: the Company's ability to obtain court approval with respect to its motions in the Chapter 11 proceedings; the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries to prosecute, develop and consummate one or more plans of reorganization with respect to the Chapter 11 proceedings; risks associated with third party motions in the Chapter 11 proceedings, which may interfere with the Company's ability to develop and consummate one or more plans of reorganization; the potential adverse effects of the Chapter 11 proceedings on the Company's liquidity or results of operations; matters affecting the poultry industry generally; continued compliance with conditions for funding under the debtor-in-possession financing facility; the ability to execute the Company's business and restructuring plan to achieve desired cost savings and additional capital to improve liquidity; future pricing for feed ingredients and the Company's products; additional outbreaks of avian influenza or other diseases, either in the Company's flocks or elsewhere, affecting the Company's ability to conduct its operations and/or demand for its poultry products; contamination of the Company's 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 cash resources, particularly in light of the Company's substantial leverage; restrictions imposed by, and as a result of, the Company's substantial leverage; changes in laws or regulations affecting the Company's operations or the application thereof; new immigration legislation or increased enforcement efforts in connection with existing immigration legislation that cause the costs of doing business to increase, cause the Company to change the way in which it does business, or otherwise disrupt its operations; competitive factors and pricing pressures or the loss of one or more of the Company's largest customers; 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 the Company's 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.Web Site: http://www.pilgrimspride.com