Wayne Farms intends to sell its recently upgraded poultry complex in Laurel, Mississippi. The plans to sell the Laurel assets were revealed one month after pending plans for Wayne Farms to merge with Laurel-based Sanderson Farms were announced.
Wayne Farms spokesman Frank Singleton confirmed with WATT Global Media that the complex was for sale. That includes the 101,050 square-foot plant, a feed mill, a hatchery, and the related fleet of farms, service vehicles, tractor-trailers, forklifts and managerial vehicles.
“I know there are several companies that are looking at it, but there’s no timeline and until (the properties are sold), it will be business as usual," said Singleton. "It’s fully modernized and operational, and the intent it to find a turnkey buyer who is immediately in the business, and knows the business, and is ready to stay in production. I know that is the goal.”
In August, it was announced that Continental Grain, Wayne Farms’ parent company, and Cargill had worked out a joint venture in which the two entities would purchase Sanderson Farms for $4.53 billion or $203 per share. Under the deal reached with Sanderson Farms, Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms would merge. Clint Rivers, the CEO of Wayne Farms, will be the CEO of the combined company.
The deal is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early in 2022.
Wayne Farms in January 2020 announced a $16.9 million expansion and upgrade of its Laurel plant, which included the addition of a processing line and equipment, including cutting, deboning, portioning, packaging and upgraded X-Ray technology, all tied to the company’s Ladybird premium line of chicken products. The expansion also made way for the creation of about 200 jobs.
Wayne Farms’ Laurel plant was built in 1957 by Allied Mills. According to a fact sheet on the Wayne Farms website, there are 391 employees at the plant and it supports 220 poultry growers.
Products produced at the facility include boneless breasts, trimmed breasts, tenders, wings, boneless whole legs, drumsticks, paws and giblets.
Sanderson Farms, the third largest poultry company in the United States, is headquartered in Laurel, and also operates a poultry complex in Laurel.