Cargill beefs up protein production with plant acquisition

by Rebekah Schouten
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Cargill beef plant, Columbia, S.C., FPL Foods
The 100,000-square-foot beef processing plant employs more than 200 people.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Cargill has acquired the FPL Food, L.L.C. ground beef processing plant in Columbia, S.C. Terms of the transaction — which is expected to close at the end of March — were not disclosed.

The 100,000-square-foot plant, which employs more than 200 people, will enhance Cargill’s eastern reach in retail and food service, according to the company. The acquisition will complement the company’s existing meat processing facilities in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

John Keating, Cargill Beef
John Keating, president of Cargill Beef

“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 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 food service customers in a region where people love ground beef.”

FPL Food, based in Augusta, Ga., operates two facilities and a farm, where the company maintains 2,500 cattle to meet customer beef demand.

Francois Leger, FPL Foods
Francois Paul Léger, founder, president and c.e.o. of FPL Food
“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 Léger, founder, president and chief executive officer of FPL Food. “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.”
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