US corn refiner and food ingredient firm Corn Products International has announced plans to permanently close two of its corn refining facilities, one in North America and one in South America.

The company plans to close one of its starch plants in Guadalajara, Mexico, the smallest of its four plants in Mexico, and one of its facilities in the Andean region in South America. Production from the Cisne plant in Mexico will be transferred to the company's remaining corn refining plants in the country; production from the Andean region facility will be transferred to the company's recently expanded corn refining facility in Cali, Colombia.

The closures, which are scheduled to become effective during the fourth quarter, will result in a one-time charge of approximately US$20.5m ($13.7m after tax), to be taken in the fourth quarter of 2004.

"The expected efficiency gains from this action support our company's goal of excelling at our base business, the first plank in the multiple pathway strategy that we announced this year," said Sam Scott, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Corn Products International.