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Hormel to buy Skippy, including LR plant

Company to 'maintain current operations'

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published January 3, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. Updated January 3, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.

locally-made-skippy-peanut-butter

Locally made Skippy Peanut Butter

— The food supplier that owns peanut butter company Skippy says it is selling the business to Hormel in a $700 million deal that includes a Little Rock-based plant.

New Jersey-based Unilever said Thursday that the sale includes the Skippy manufacturing facility in Little Rock and one in Weifang, China.

Hormel said in a statement that it "intends to maintain current operations at the plant in Little Rock and welcomes the employees there to the Hormel Foods team."

Jeffrey M. Ettinger, president, chief executive and chairman of the board at Hormel, said the deal represents "a significant opportunity."

"It allows us to grow our branded presence in the center of the store with a non-meat protein product and it reinforces our balanced portfolio," he said in a statement, noting it would also strengthen the company's global presence. Skippy is the leading brand in China.

Unilever company president Kees Kruythoff called Skippy an "iconic brand with presence all around the world."

"As we continue to sharpen our portfolio to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, we believe that the potential of the Skippy brand can now be more fully realized with Hormel Foods,” he said.

The deal is expected to close early this year.

Comments on: Hormel to buy Skippy, including LR plant

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

Jackabbott says... January 3, 2013 at 8:41 a.m.

Well, let's hope the plant stays here in Arkansas and expands. Can you imagine eating peanut butter made in China. No wonder Wyatt Earped.

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RBBrittain says... January 3, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.

@Jackabbott: You can't move most U.S. food manufacturing overseas without unacceptable sacrifices in food safety. *IF* the Skippy plant moves (highly doubtful--there's little or no production synergy between peanut butter & meats), it's more likely to go to another Hormel plant in the U.S. than to China. The Chinese angle here is to sell TO China; that's what the Chinese plant is for.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... January 3, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.

Good points RBBrittain, with China's 1.25 billion or more, that is very good prospective customer base.
~
Next, Chile beans and peanut butter.

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Jackabbott says... January 3, 2013 at 12:43 p.m.

ah so, RBBrittain, hope you are right because I see a lot of garbage food in Pulaski County labeled from China and Mexico. i have only been to China once, but have made many trips to Mexico and I would not touch their stuff.

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RBBrittain says... January 3, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.

Jackabbott, most of what you're seeing probably IS "garbage food", except possibly Mexican Coca-Cola (you know they still use real sugar down there). My point was that shipping high-volume manufactured foods (like both Skippy and most of Hormel's products including Spam) creates risks that far outweigh any labor savings. Most of Hormel's existing plants are in the U.S.; as was added to the article after both our comments, they plan on keeping the LR Skippy plant as is.

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RBBrittain says... January 3, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.

A couple of corrections: First, par. 2 should begin "New Jersey-based Unilever North America..."; also, par. 6 should begin "Unilever North America president Kees Kruythoff..." Unilever proper is headquartered in London & Rotterdam, *not* the U.S., but the press release came from its U.S. subsidiary in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; Kruythoff heads the U.S. subsidiary, *not* Unilever itself. Ironically (given Jackabbott's fears of losing the Skippy plant to China), Hormel is based in Austin, Minn.

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