Approximately 170 positions will be eliminated at the plant

Approximately 170 positions will be eliminated at the plant

US dairy giant Dean Foods has confirmed plans to close its Oak Farms plant in Louisiana, cutting around 170 jobs.

A spokesperson for the company told just-food at the weekend employees were informed last month that production will be phased out at the Shreveport-based plant over the next two months. The closure is expected by mid-May.

"Approximately 170 positions will be eliminated, though we will maintain about 25 positions for local distribution and sales," a spokesperson told just-food. "We are committed to helping employees find new jobs during this transition."

The spokesperson said production will be moved to other regional Dean Foods facilities, but added Oak Farms products will continue to be available in Shreveport.

"We regret the impact that this decision will have on our employees and our community. The decision to eliminate jobs in any part of our business is never an easy one. We operate in a highly competitive marketplace, so we must run our business in the most efficient way possible," the spokesperson said.

In February, the company's share price slid after the dairy giant issued a cautious outlook for the year. Despite the firm booking earnings of $167.5m in the 12 months to the end of December, the company said the fluid milk industry remains competitive.

Earlier this year it lost a portion of a major customer's business, which will begin to be reflected in 2013's second quarter.