Cargill today (July 12 ) announced it is the successful bidder for the former AFA Foods, Inc. ground beef processing plant in Fort Worth, TX, resulting from a federal bankruptcy court auction, with a bid of $14.1 million for the facility, plus the purchase of all working capital assets.  Based in King of Prussia, PA, AFA filed for chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court at Wilmington, DE, on April 2, 2012. Cargill bid only on AFA’s Fort Worth plant.  The transaction also received court approval today and the sale is expected to close next week. 

            “We’re thrilled to be the winning bidder for the Fort Worth facility due to its track record of producing quality products and satisfying customers, its geographic advantage to our retail and foodservice customers, its proximity to raw materials and its access to growing regions,” said Mary Thompson, president of the Cargill Value Added Meats Food Service business headquartered in Wichita, KS. “This is a strategic acquisition that complements our existing beef production and distribution infrastructure and better positions us to meet our goals for both short-term and long-term profitable growth.”

            Cargill plans to retain the approximately 250 fulltime ground beef production positions at the facility and invest appropriately there to ensure the plant’s ongoing competitive viability, as well as to establish the company as a good, local, corporate citizen that supports the community through giving and volunteerism.   The Cargill Value Added Meats Food Service unit of Minneapolis-based Cargill, Inc. services customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Its Fort Worth plant will produce ground beef patties and a variety of ground beef packaged products for both the retail and foodservice sectors.

            “I congratulate and applaud Cargill for expanding its Texas presence with the acquisition of the Fort Worth ground beef processing plant,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said.  “Texas is known worldwide as a great place to do business and for being a powerhouse of productivity as a leading agricultural state.  Cargill’s announcement means jobs for Texans and continued momentum for the Lone Star State.”

            “We eagerly look forward to welcoming the Fort Worth employees into the Cargill family which currently includes more than 34,000 people, and more than 30 facilities, in its North American animal protein businesses,” stated Thompson. “We take a great deal of pride in knowing that our meat businesses provide safe, nutritious, abundant and affordable food to our customers and consumers, and that we now have a Fort Worth facility that will help to ensure we can deliver on our promises. It will be full-speed ahead in Fort Worth as soon as the transaction closes, and we could not be more pleased.”

            Over the past 15 months, Cargill has announced approximately $100 million of investments in Texas supporting the company’s animal protein businesses, including the acquisition of a hog production facility near Dalhart, construction of a livestock feed production facility at Bovina and the Fort Worth beef processing facility acquisition. These projects will add hundreds of jobs, elevating Cargill’s total employment in the state to more than 6,000 at three dozen locations throughout Texas. Additionally, for fiscal 2012 and 2013 Cargill committed a total of $20 million in capital investments at its Plainview and Friona, Texas, beef processing facilities, the company says.