Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sara Lee's Nashville facilities don't expect layoffs after sale

Mexican company Grupo Bimbo buys bakery unit By G. Chambers Williams III • THE TENNESSEAN • November 11, 2010 All employees and operations of the Sara Lee Corp.'s bakery, sales depot and outlet store in Nashville will be transferred to a new owner when the sale of Sara Lee's North American Fresh Bakery unit to Mexico's Grupo Bimbo is completed next year. Sara Lee announced that it was selling the fresh bakery business to concentrate on its more-profitable products, which include frozen baked goods, deli meats and Senseo coffee. About 100 employees work at the Nashville Sara Lee bakery at 2407 Franklin Pike, which was transferred to Sara Lee in 2001 as part of the company's acquisition of Earthgrain Baking Co. Inc. The Nashville unit produces fresh loaf bread, hamburger buns, hot dog buns and other products. Brands include Rainbo and Sara Lee, as well as private-label products for retail grocers. With the acquisition, Grupo Bimbo will become the largest fresh baker in the United States. It said it plans to invest about $1 billion in the United States over the next five years to upgrade facilities and build new bakeries. All 41 of Sara Lee's fresh bakeries will be transferred to Grupo Bimbo, said Sara Lee spokesman Mike Cummins, and no layoffs are expected. The combined facilities have about 13,000 employees. Sara Lee will continue to produce its other bakery products, including frozen cheesecake, pound cake and pies, and it will keep its meat brands, Cummins said. Those include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms and Ball Park. Grupo Bimbo will pay $959 million for the Sara Lee fresh bakery unit and will license the use of the Sara Lee name from the Sara Lee Corp., Cummins said.

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