Seneca Foods, the US-based fruit-and-vegetable group, is to shut a factory in California.

Production facility in Modesto will end “prior to the 2018 production season”, Seneca Foods said. Warehouse operations will continue for “an unspecified period” as the site is Seneca Foods’ west coast distribution centre. Around 265 full-time staff are among those working at the facility.

The plant is mainly used for the packaging and warehousing of Seneca Foods’ peach and fruit cocktail products. The company said it expects the
closure will “improve its long-term financial condition and reduce leverage”.

Seneca Foods pointed to “large operating losses” at the site, a fall in the availability of peaches, rising costs and competition from imports from China and Europe.

In 2015, Seneca Foods struck a deal to offload the plant to Californian co-operative Pacific Coast Producers but the companies subsequently agreed to call off the transaction after the US Department of Justice needed time to weigh up the sale.

Last month meanwhile, Seneca Foods snapped up a maraschino cherry business from local peer Burnette Foods.