Plant workers process poultry meat in the Luverne Gold'n Plump plant in this 2001 file photo.

Pilgrim's Pride buys Gold'n Plump

It's unclear how Luverne plant will be affected

Goldn’ Plump has been purchased by Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, headquartered in Greeley, Colorado.

According to an announcement Tuesday, Pilgrim’s Pride intends to pay $350 million in cash for GNP Co., which produces Gold'n Plump and Just Bare chicken, based in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

It's not yet clear what the deal will mean for the plant in Luverne or the other GNP plants in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the 1,700 GNP employees.

It's the second time in three years Gold'n Plump has been sold.

In 2013 one of the country's largest hog producers, the Maschhoffs LLC, based in Illionois, purchased Gold’n Plump from the founding Helgeson family for an undisclosed price.

Pilgrim's Pride is the second largest chicken producer in the world with plants and prepared-foods facilities in 12 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

The company's primary distribution is through retailers and foodservice distributors.

Pilgrim’s majority owner is JBS S.A., based in Brazil, the world's largest meat processor by sales.

 

Background

When IBP (Iowa Beef Processors) left Luverne in January 1998, it employed 370 people, and its closing signaled a low point in morale for Luverne economic development.

But Gold'n Plump offered new hope later that same year.

The company immediately spent $2 million remodeling the former IBP plant and started operating with 120 employees.

At one point, Gold'n Plump in Luverne employed more than 250 people with an annual payroll exceeding $6 million.

But in 2003 local employment dipped below 100 when the company relocated its deboning process from Luverne to Cold Spring, taking 140 employees with it.

Since that time, the number has risen to 230 team members, according to GNP spokesperson Lexann Reischl.

The proposed transaction will likely close during the first quarter of 2017 subject to regulatory review and approval and closing conditions.

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