UPDATE: Hormel says Little Rock jobs safe in Skippy plant sale
LITTLE ROCK (KATV, AP) - Unilever is selling its Skippy peanut butter business to Hormel Foods for $700 million, including its plant in Little Rock.
The deal announced Thursday involves two peanut butter manufacturing facilities - the one in Little Rock and one in China's Shandong province. Shift workers at both plants were told of the sale Thursday.
Regulators still have to approve the transaction. Skippy spokesperson Anita Lawson told Channel 7 News the sale is expected to go through within the next few months.
The Little Rock facility employs 160 workers. When asked if those jobs were safe, Lawson said only that the plant would be transferred to Hormel and, until then, everything would be "business as usual."
A Hormel spokesperson said in a written statement, "Hormel Foods intends to maintain current operationsat the plant in Little Rock and welcomes the employees there to the HormelFoods team."
Unilever president Kees Kruythoff says Skippy is an "iconic brand" that has a worldwide presence. He says he believes the brand can achieve better growth under leadership from Hormel.
Austin, Minn.-based Hormel says the acquisition gives the company an important non-meat product to complement its existing lines.
Unilever says Skippy has annual turnover of $370 million.