Cargill to cut nearly 200 jobs at starch plant

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Related tags: Cargill, Plant

Cargill, one of the largest US food processors, is to make about
200 workers redundant at the former Cerestar plant in Indiana.

Cargill, one of the largest US food processors, is to make about 200 workers redundant at the former Cerestar plant in Hammond, Indiana according to a report in the Tribune Business News​.

Mike Jones, manager of the facility, said letters were sent to 250 workers warning them of the imminent losses, but also said that the actual number laid off would be less because of natural losses."We don't have specific numbers right now because some people are taking retirement packages and a handful are going to other Cargill facilities,"​ he said. "We won't know the actual number until mid-June. I'd say it would be about 90 per cent of that."

Once the process is over, Cargill expects to maintain a staff in Hammond of about 260 people. The layoffs began in April and will continue throughout June.

Cargill, which bought a majority interest in Cerestar in early April, sent a transition team into the Hammond plant two months ago to complete a comprehensive analysis of the plant's operations.

A Cargill executive said then the plant has a cost structure that it could not support, and a significant portion of the 460-person work force would be reduced and production processes streamlined to make it more productive.

Established in 1908, the Cerestar plant has an older work force, with a number of second- and third-generation employees. It is one of three US plants and several others in Europe that Cargill acquired when it bought the company.

Cargill, which is an international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural food, and financial and industrial products, has a strong US presence with six plants. Cerestar brings its domestic total to nine.

As the company continues to streamline operations, Jones said some production functions at the Hammond plant will be relocated while other functions will come to Hammond.

The Cerestar plant, which manufactures sweeteners and starch products, is very strong in specialty food ingredients.

Cargill spokesman Bill Brady said Cerestar's focus on specialty products is one of the reasons Cargill acquired it.

"The Cerestar purchase fits us like a hand and glove,"​ he said. "It jump-starts our enhanced focus on providing customer solutions in a global economy."

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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