UPDATE 1-Pilgrim's Pride sets layoffs; integration begins

CHICAGO Tue Jan 5, 2010 10:41am EST

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CHICAGO Jan 5 (Reuters) - Pilgrim's Pride Corp PPC.N, the U.S. chicken producer that recently exited bankruptcy, said on Tuesday that it would eliminate about 230 corporate and administrative positions during the first phase of its integration with Brazilian meat company JBS SA (JBSS3.SA).

Pilgrim's Pride will be integrated with Greeley, Colorado-based JBS USA. JBS acquired majority control of Pilgrim's Pride on Dec. 28.

None of the eliminated positions are production-related.

About 160 of the primarily salaried positions being eliminated are based at Pilgrim's Pride's headquarters in Pittsburg, Texas, or in nearby Mt. Pleasant, Texas, the company said in a statement.

The remaining positions being eliminated are spread over nearly a dozen other sites, including Atlanta, Dallas and Broadway, Virginia. Severance benefits, including outplacement assistance, to affected salaried and salaried nonexempt employees will be provided.

The company said it was moving forward with plans to consolidate most corporate functions at JBS USA's headquarters in Greeley. Both companies are evaluating the needs of their organizations and should finalize consolidation plans within the next three to six months.

As part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan, Pilgrim's Pride, one the largest U.S. chicken producers, sold a majority stake of the company to JBS. (Reporting by Bob Burgdorfer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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