By Goldkist Inc
ATLANTA: Gold Kist Inc. will celebrate the official opening of the $70 million, 180,000-square-foot expansion of its Live Oak, Fla., poultry processing facility on November 2, 2006 at 10 a.m. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will feature a keynote address by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Charles H. Bronson.
"This expansion is the largest single investment that Gold Kist has ever made in a facility. It doubles the plant's capacity to produce value added products and allows us to support the tremendous growth of Publix Super Markets, one of our largest private label retail customers," said John Bekkers, Gold Kist President and CEO. "The expansion is an integral part of our strategic plan to increase production of value added products and builds on our company's success as industry leader in private label products."
Part of the plant's expansion includes the addition of new air chilling technology that cools the chickens using fresh, filtered cold air rather than water immersion. Using this technology, Gold Kist will process chickens that are antibiotic-free and raised on an all-vegetable diet. This new product was developed to help supply the double-digit sales growth of natural foods in retail supermarkets. Gold Kist is the first major chicken processor in the United States to offer this antibiotic free, air chilled premium product line that will be marketed first by Publix under the GreenWise Market(TM) label.
The new Gold Kist facility in Live Oak, Fla., incorporates the latest food safety technology and utilizes advanced robotic product inventory and order processing system that is designed to ensure proper product rotation and rapid assembly of customers' orders. In addition, the expansion will provide modern employee welfare and training facilities. As a result of the expansion, Gold Kist has added 100 new employees.
The Gold Kist Florida Division began operations in Live Oak in 1967 and employs a total of 1,600 people at its processing plant, feed mill, hatchery and distribution centers. Gold Kist contracts with 167 family farmers in the area to raise chickens for the processing plant.
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as defined in the federal securities laws regarding Gold Kist's beliefs, anticipations, expectations or predictions of the future, including statements relating to the expected opening of the Live Oak's expansion. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in such forward-looking statements include the risks described under "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 1, 2005, and subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Gold Kist undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ABOUT GOLD KIST: Gold Kist is the third largest chicken company in the United States, accounting for more than 9 percent of chicken produced in the United States in 2005. Gold Kist operates a fully-integrated chicken production business that includes live production, processing, marketing and distribution. Gold Kist's operations include nine divisions located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.