BRITT — The new owner of the Primera Foods egg-breaking plant near Britt expects to retain all 53 permanent employees at the plant, a spokeswoman for the new owner said Wednesday.
The sale of Primera Foods Corporation to M.G. Waldbaum Co., a subsidiary of Michael Foods, of Minnetonka, Minn., should be completed today Thursday, said Diane Sparish, a vice president in communications for Michael Foods.
Michael Foods is focused on quality and customer service and retaining key employees is part of that focus, Sparish said.
M.G. Waldbaum, of Wakefield, Neb., will buy Primera for $35.7 million, Sparish said. The purchase includes the Britt plant and a similar plant in Altura, Minn. Primera breaks eggs and processes them into liquid and dry form used by Betty Crocker, General Mills, bakeries, schools, restaurants and other customers.
Michael Foods employs about 3,500 people and has customers in North America, Europe and Asia. Company products include Crystal Farms and Simply Potatoes.
Although the purchase will help M.G. Waldbaum to better serve customer needs with increased production of egg products “it’s too early to say” if production in Britt will be expanded, Sparish said.
Gary Gelner, a member of Hancock County Economic Development and the Britt Industrial Development Corporation, said the sale “looks definitely positive.”
Ed Berg, director of Hancock County Economic Development, agreed.
“(Michael Foods) seems like a very solid company,” Berg said. Michael Foods has a long history in agriculture products, primarily with eggs, Berg said.
“I see opportunities down the road for Michael Foods and Hancock County,” Berg said.
Gelner, too, believes the purchase could lead to expansion in Britt.
Berg said the main questions he has of the purchaser are: “Is there any impact to the local employment ... (and) to see if there are opportunities for future growth for Michael Foods.”
Sparish said employees will need to complete interviews with the new owners but that is a standard process to check for all necessary paperwork and documentation.
Sparish said she did not yet know if employees would be retained at the Primera rate of pay and how employees would transition to a M.G. Waldbaum benefit package.
Gelner and Britt Mayor Jim Nelson said Primera has been a good partner in the region since the Wisconsin-based company bought the ag processing plant about five years ago. They'd like that partnership to continue.
“We were tickled pink when it was bought by Primera and it started employing people again,” Nelson said. “Whatever we can do to help (new owners) we will do.”
“(Primera) is a first-class company and it looks like we are going to another first-class company,” Gelner said.