Poultry producer to reopen former Townsends plant in Siler City

08/22/2014 12:37 PM

08/22/2014 1:15 PM

A poultry producer plans to reopen the former Townsends chicken processing plant in Siler City.

Carolina Premium Foods this week received a $750,000 grant from the state’s Rural Infrastructure Authority to assist with the project. The company plans to invest $4 million renovating and installing two new production lines in the 95,000-square-foot facility.

Carolina Premium Foods has committed to creating 38 new, full-time jobs, with expectations that the company’s workforce will grow to over 300 within five years.

The Whispering Pines-based company focuses on producing free-range, organic poultry products.

The Siler City plant once employed more than a thousand people but has been closed for several years after cycling through a number of owners.

After Townsends filed for bankruptcy in late 2010, the company's North Carolina assets were acquired by a Ukrainian billionaire, Oleg Bakhmatyuk, for $24.9 million in February 2011.

Omtron, the U.S. shell corporation Bakhmatyuk created, spent $7 million upgrading the Siler City plant. But Omtron abruptly announced in late July 2011 that it would close the facilities by October and lay off 1,156 workers.

Omtron was later forced to sell its assets at auction, and they were acquired by a group led by Rabin Worldwide in July for $5.36 million. Rabin later sold about 80 percent of the equipment in the Siler City plant to an Arkansas poultry company.

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