ConAgra Sheds More Light on Streamlining Initiative

OMAHA, Neb. -- ConAgra Foods, Inc. said yesterday that it will close five manufacturing plants and eliminate about 400 jobs as part of a plan to achieve long-term, profitable growth.

The packaged foods company previously indicated that as many as 12 plants could be closed as part of the plan to cut costs.

The operational changes are expected to occur over the next 12 to 18 months, and include five closures that result in a workforce reduction of approximately 400 employees. By fiscal 2009, the company expects total plant rationalization efforts under the program to result in a $100 million reduction in annual fixed costs.

The plants that are closing are in Archbold and Rossford, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Folcroft, Pa.; and Laval, Quebec. Additionally, ConAgra's tomato paste plant in Helm, Calif., will operate only on a seasonal basis, while other product volumes will transfer to its Oakdale, Calif. plant.

The company's Memphis, Tenn., plant will discontinue production of plastic containers used for vegetable oil products in favor of using a third-party container supplier.

The company had previously announced plans to build a new plant in Fort Worth as long as local tax incentives are approved. That facility, which will be a regional canning and distribution center, could eventually gain 400 jobs over the current Fort Worth plant as it absorbs some redistributed volume of the canned bean, chili, and pasta products from the six facilities tagged for closure.

The company's Waterloo, Iowa, pudding plant will expand and absorb production from Rossford, Ohio, which will close. The Menomonie, Wis. pudding facility will also absorb pudding production from Rossford.

ConAgra Foods' Folcroft, Penn., snack plant will close, with production shifting to the company's Milton, Pa. and Garner, N.C. snack locations. The close of ConAgra's taco shell production facility in Laval, Quebec will mark ConAgra Foods' exit from this business.
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