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US meat processor Tyson Foods has announced a plan to consolidate its poultry processing operations in Jackson, Mississippi into the company’s facility in Carthage, Mississippi, leading to the loss of 900 jobs.

Tyson acquired the Carthage facility when it purchased Choctaw Maid Farms in late September 2003 and the company said it has since undertaken a comprehensive analysis of all operations in the area to determine how to most effectively maintain the competitiveness of its Mississippi operations. 

The approximately 850,000 birds currently being processed weekly in Jackson will now be processed at Carthage, bringing the total production at that facility to about 2.3 million weekly. Tyson said that the installation of new automated processing equipment at the Carthage facility meant it would only be able to employ around 1,800 people at the plant, compared to the 2,700 now employed in the two plants combined. 

The company expects to take pre-tax charges to earnings of approximately $10m to $13m, or two cents per diluted share, primarily in the second quarter of this fiscal year related to these activities. The company also expects these initiatives to have a positive impact on pre-tax earnings of approximately $20m to $25m annually, or four to five cents per diluted share, beginning in fiscal 2005.