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Golden Peanut to close

AULANDER – The Golden Peanut shelling plant in Aulander will shut down effective Feb. 1, 2016.

Eighty-one employees will be laid off, according to company officials.

The parent company, Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts of Alpharetta, Ga., is a subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

ADM Spokesperson Jackie Anderson said in a statement sent Monday to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, “Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts has informed employees of its plans to permanently shutter peanut processing operations at our Aulander, North Carolina, facility, effective February 1, 2016.”

She said of the 81 employees impacted by the plant closing, “We will be working with each affected colleague to explore career options within ADM or provide severance packages as appropriate.”

As to why the local plant was being closed, Anderson said, “We regularly review our portfolio to ensure that the assets we hold fit our strategy and our goal to create value for shareholders.

“In this case,” Anderson said, “when taking into account the age of the plant, its physical layout—including the fact that its processes are spread over 11 different buildings—its location and expected market conditions going forward, we did not see a viable long-term path toward this facility meeting our returns objectives.”

Anderson concluded, “We will also cease to purchase peanuts from buying points that supplied the Aulander plant.”

In a Triad Business Journal story from Dec. 4, ADM is closing the Aulander plant due to “market conditions” in a filing to the N.C. Commerce Department dated Nov. 30 and disclosed Dec. 3.

The Journal story also said, “Employees to be ‘temporarily retained’ after the closing date will be chosen ‘based on skill, ability, workload and ability to perform the remaining job functions’.”

That filing statement is attributed to Malcolm Smith, human resources director.

The Journal story said the news of the Aulander plant closure “comes a few months after Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts said it would be expanding the capacity of its peanut oil processing facility in Dawson, Ga.”

The company now has five plants in Georgia, two in Texas, one each in Alabama, and Oklahoma. It also has one in Argentina and two in South Africa.