Sussex County Delaware

Townsend's Shutting
Soybean Crushing Plant

Townsend's Inc. ...

Also Leasing Edible
Soy Refinery to Perdue

In its continued restructuring, Townsend's Inc. has decided to close its soybean crushing plant in Millsboro.

In announcing the closing on Thursday, April 20, 2000, the company said in a press release that the soybean extraction business has not been economically viable for several years now.

Townsend's said its decision to close the business wsa influenced by the following:

  • A substantial capital investment in technology would have been required to achieve a more competitive cost structure to compete with the industry's larger processors -- Townsend's has less than a 1 percent market share.

  • The decrease in crop land, which reduces the supply of local soybeans, and the absence of rail service at the Millsboro site, have resulted in escalating operating costs.

  • The company's inability to compete due to its use of higher cost fuel oil as an energy source versus the lower cost natural gas used by many of its competitors.

In a related matter, Townsend's said it had reached an agreement in principle to lease the edible soy oil refinery in Millsboro to Perdue Inc.

As previously announced, the asset sale to Mountaire, which includes the poultry processing plant, hatchery and feedmill, along with the soybean processing facilities, will be completed in May.

Townsend's said it expects the business changes to go smoothly and to provide many of the soybean operation staff with employment opportunities with Perdue and Mountaire.

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