Cargill Beefs up Capabilities, Commitment to Protein, with South Carolina Plant Purchase

People in the eastern United States enjoy good beef burgers and beginning this spring Cargill will be able to better meet those needs through the acquisition of the FPL Food, LLC ground beef processing plant in Columbia, S.C. Purchase of the 100,000-square-foot plant, which employs more than 200 people, complements Cargill's meat processing facilities in Georgia and Pennsylvania. The acquisition enhances the company's ability to serve eastern retail and foodservice customers. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed, and the transaction is expected to close around the end of March.

"Cargill ground beef customers served by this plant will benefit from closer proximity to supplies and improved transit time for their orders," said John Keating, president of Wichita-based Cargill Beef. "We are acquiring an excellent facility, with outstanding people and capabilities. This acquisition underscores our ongoing commitment to grow our protein business and will enable us to better serve retail and foodservice customers in a region where people love ground beef."

"As the founder of FPL Food, I am delighted our ground beef plant will be in the hands of a company that truly values the products and people who produce them, as well as the customer relationships that nurture a continuous drive for excellence to generate profitable business growth," said Francois Paul L├ęger. "We're looking forward to the opportunity to remain a key supplier of quality beef to the plant and know that the fine people working there will become part of Cargill's terrific beef team. This sale allows FPL Food to focus on its core business of raising and harvesting cattle. It is a win-win scenario for ground beef customers, plant employees, the community, FPL Food and Cargill."   

Cargill's North American beef business is one of the largest producers of ground beef products in the world, with numerous processing plants in the U.S. and Canada. Ground beef is versatile and used for dishes ranging from premium gourmet hamburgers to an ingredient in chili and meat sauces, taco filling, meatballs, meatloaf and many other recipes.

"Ground beef is a staple in the diet of most U.S. consumers and we've recently seen encouraging trends, including a resurgence for premium gourmet burgers," stated Keating. "Rebuilding the U.S. beef cattle herd from the severe multiyear drought suffered in Texas and the southern plains is well underway, which will result in an increased beef supply later this year and beyond. The increased supply should benefit our customers and consumers over the next few years.

"Forecasts tell us global beef demand continues to increase significantly, and U.S. demand is solid. Given the needs of our customers, purchasing this facility in South Carolina will help us expand our capabilities, including better utilization of the beef we generate at our other plants.  Synergies make this acquisition very attractive to our beef business."

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