MILLSBORO – State and federal leaders today welcomed with open arms Allen Harim’s announcement that it is in negotiations to expand its investment in the United States through the acquisition of the former Pinnacle (Vlasic) Foods processing facility in Millsboro.
The remodeled facility will be state of the art for poultry processing, cut-up, and cooking operation and is expected to employ an estimated 700 people. Allen Harim will operate the plant through its Harim Millsboro, LLC subsidiary.
“We are pleased by this important expansion by Harim Group in Sussex County," said Governor Jack Markell. “This decision strengthens Harim’s commitment to Delaware, and it helps many Delawareans in Sussex County who want to work for this growing company."
“The poultry industry is the backbone of Delaware’s agriculture economy, and Harim is now making it stronger,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, who first introduced the idea of purchasing the plant to Harim executives. “Our poultry growers will have more opportunity; our workers will have more jobs and our state will sell more chicken, helping cement Sussex County’s position as the No. 1 broiler-producing county in the nation.”
Delaware Economic Development Office Director Alan Levin said “Harim’s decision to expand its U.S. interests here in the First State further emphasizes that Delaware is a great place to grow a business. Our economy needs a strong poultry industry, and we believe that Harim’s move to Millsboro will go a long way toward fulfilling that goal.”
“I've worked to keep this plant open for more than 20 years, and I was happy to be a part of an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure we replaced the jobs that could be lost if the plant closed for good," said U.S. Senator Thomas Carper, D-Del. “We started looking for a company that might utilize this fine facility. Our efforts have finally paid off, and I am grateful that Allen Harim will be taking over this manufacturing facility in order to expand its poultry processing operation and eventually restore hundreds of much-needed jobs to Sussex County.”
Allen Harim operates poultry processing facilities in Harbeson, DE and Cordova, MD; Breeding operations in Liberty, NC; along with a Hatchery, Feedmill, and Corporate Office in Seaford, DE. It has about 1,400 employees, about 270 independent growers, and 25 company-owned farms. Allen Harim purchased the assets of the former Allen’s in September 2011.
The new facility is expected to begin operations by November 2014.
“We are excited about bringing Millsboro into our family,” said Gary E. Gladys, Chief Executive Officer. “The new facility will expand our processing capacity, allow us to introduce new products and hire more employees. This will have a significant economic impact in Delaware, and serve as a symbol of our deep commitment to the United States market with an investment of an estimated $100 million.
“This new facility will help us expand into new markets as we continue to operate our existing processing plants and continue our strong relationship with our growers,” said Mr. Gladys said. “We believe that our base on the Delmarva Peninsula provides a solid foundation for future growth, and this facility fits into that strategy.”
Pinnacle Foods announced last May plans to shut down its Vlasic pickle processing operation in Millsboro, and through consolidation focus its production at its other plant in Michigan. Some 200 jobs were lost with the Millsboro’s plant closure.