Summit Poultry Inc. has a pair of new owners who aim to reopen the company next month at the former Horizon plant in Pine Bluff and employ more than 100 people, according to a news release distributed through Jefferson County economic developers.
Richard “Rick” Peters, COO of Agri-Max LLC of Texas, and partner Clifton M. Dugas II, said in the news release that they have acquired all assets, licenses, permits and registrations of Summit Poultry.
The company said that if it and its existing creditors sign a written agreement by Friday, the plant could open for full poultry processing and production in early January.
The company also said it had secured supply commitments for live birds and sales commitments for processed birds “in amounts equal to or exceeding the plant capacity for a full one-shift, full-time operation.”
The company said Peters and Dugas have secured financing for the re-opening and that Summit will “be responsible for negotiating settlements with previous and existing secured creditors of the plant, and for satisfying all such settlement time-payments within the first twelve months of operations.”
Peters will be on-site, in charge and in control of the reopened plant’s personnel and operations, according to the news release.
The company said it has started to repair, maintain and rehabilitate the facility at 2201 W. Second Ave. It’s also starting to design and make capital improvements to wastewater processing and refrigeration as necessary.
The announcement is the latest development in the plant’s long history.
Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale acquired the slaughter facility in 1984 from Valmac Industries. It was built in 1957 and had the capacity to process 860,000 birds per week.
But the company closed the plant in 2004 to improve efficiencies by consolidating its operations. Tyson moved its Pine Bluff operations to 5505 Jefferson Parkway in nearby White Hall.
A company called Pine Bluff Poultry LLC partnered with Phuellink Investments LLC of Lodi, California, to buy the plant in 2007. It was acquired again in 2012 by Horizon Foods LP, a California investment group. The plant reopened that same year but closed again the next.
In 2013, Summit Poultry took over the plant, hired 100 workers and said its plans were to have 200 employees there by the end of that year. But the plant later closed.
Lou Ann Nisbett, president and CEO of the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, told the Pine Bluff Commercial the project to reopen the plant has been in the works for months.