• Sites in California, New Jersey to close
  • Falling canned soup sales cited 

US food group Campbell Soup Co. is to shut two domestic plants, citing falling canned soup sales among the reasons for the move.

Campbell will close a spice factory in New Jersey by March and a soup and sauce plant in California by July.

The company said lower canned soup sales volumes, improving productivity and new packaging made under co-packing deals had left it with "excess capacity".

Campbell will move the spice production at the plant in South Plainfield to a second site in Milwaukee.

Production at the soup and sauces plant in Sacramento will switch to three other sites in North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

Campbell said the closures would mean pre-tax costs of $115m and capital spending of $27m. However, it said the moves would save it $30m a year.

Earlier this month, Campbell reported lower annual profits amid higher costs and promotional spending.

CEO Denise Morrison said Campbell needed to accelerate its "transition", which involves focusing on simple meals, baked snacks and healthy drinks and expanding its presence in emerging markets.

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Campbell Takes Steps to Improve Supply Chain Productivity and Increase Utilization of U.S. Manufacturing Network; Company to Close Sacramento Plant

Company Also Plans to Close New Jersey Spice Plant

CAMDEN, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 27, 2012-- Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) today announced steps to improve its U.S. supply chain cost structure and increase asset utilization across its U.S. thermal plant network.

A number of factors have resulted in excess capacity in Campbell's U.S. thermal manufacturing network, including significant productivity improvements, volume declines of U.S. canned soup and an increased focus on new packaging formats which are often produced under co-manufacturing agreements. As a result, the company is taking the following actions:

  • Closing the Sacramento, Calif., plant, which currently produces soups, sauces and beverages. Built in 1947, the Sacramento plant is the oldest in Campbell's U.S. network and has the highest production costs on a per-case basis. The plant has approximately 700 full-time employees. Campbell will close the facility in phases, with plans to cease operations by July 2013. The company plans to shift the majority of Sacramento's production of soups, sauces and beverages to its remaining three thermal plants inMaxton, N.C.; Napoleon, Ohio; and Paris, Texas.
  • Closing the South Plainfield, N.J., spice plant. Campbell currently operates two spice plants that supply ingredients to its U.S. thermal plants. Opened in 1964, the South Plainfield plant employs 27 people. The company will close the facility by March 2013. Campbell will consolidate spice production at its largerMilwaukee plant.

Mark Alexander, President, Campbell North America, said, "We recognize this is difficult news for employees inSacramento and South Plainfield. Campbell is committed to helping them work through this transition. As we position Campbell for profitable growth, we must continue to optimize our U.S. plant network and diversify our manufacturing capabilities. We expect the steps we're announcing today to improve our competitiveness and performance by increasing our asset utilization, lowering our total delivered costs and enhancing the flexibility of our manufacturing network. These actions also will eliminate the capital investments needed to maintain theSacramento plant."

Campbell anticipates that it will incur pre-tax costs of approximately $115 million, most of which will be incurred in fiscal 2013. The program will also require approximately $27 million of capital spending. Campbell expects these actions, once fully implemented, will result in annual ongoing pre-tax savings of approximately $30 millionbeginning in fiscal 2016, with fiscal 2014 savings of approximately $21 million. Details on the program will be provided in Campbell's 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission later today.

Campbell currently employs approximately 19,900 people around the world.

Campbell in California

In addition to the Sacramento plant, Campbell operates other facilities in California. The company has approximately 450 full-time and seasonal employees at its Dixon and Stockton tomato processing facilities.Bakersfield-based Bolthouse Farms, which Campbell acquired on Aug. 6, 2012, employs approximately 1,600 people in California. Following the closing of the Sacramento facility, Campbell expects to employ approximately 2,100 people in the state.

Campbell in New Jersey

In addition to the South Plainfield spice plant, Campbell operates other facilities in New Jersey, including its world headquarters in Camden, an office in Cherry Hill and a Pepperidge Farm bakery in East Brunswick. Following the closing of the South Plainfield facility, Campbell expects to employ approximately 1,640 people in the state.

Original source: Campbell Soup Co.