Chicken processor to eliminate Siler City jobs

Posted May 4, 2011 12:49 p.m. EDT

— A chicken processor that emerged from bankruptcy in February under a new owner plans to eliminate 145 jobs at its Siler City plant.

Townsends Inc. filed a 60-day notice of the layoffs on Monday with the state Department of Commerce. The notice said the company would shed half of the workers at the plant at 1101 E. Third St. in Siler City during the first week of July.

The company employs about 1,200 people in Chatham County and has contracts with scores of chicken farmers across central North Carolina to supply its area plants.

Townsends Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, saying it had more than $100 million in liabilities because of a combination of high feed costs and low prices for chicken. Omtron Ltd., an affiliate of Agroholding Avangard, Ukraine’s largest egg producer, bought Townsends' North Carolina plants, its headquarters in Delaware and other assets for $24.9 million.

In the notice filed with the state, Omtron said the operation's revenues haven't kept pace with costs.