Seneca buys second former Del Monte canning plant in US

Food canner Seneca Foods has signed a deal to buy Del Monte’s plant in Minnesota, its second purchase of US assets from the debt-strapped canned fruit and vegetable producer.

Del Monte, a unit of Singapore’s Del Monte Pacific, closed the canning plant in Sleepy Eye last year along with facilities in Texas, Illinois and Wisconsin as part of a restructuring plan. New York State-based Seneca bought the corn-packing site in Cambria, Wisconsin, last summer.

In the latest deal Seneca paid US$2 million for the 124,000sqft plant in the small town of Sleepy Eye, according to local reports. Seneca is the name behind canned food brands such as Libby’s and Read.

The purchase is hoped to bring back the 75 factory jobs and thousands of seasonal farm positions lost when Del Monte abandoned the site, the reports claimed. 

Del Monte Pacific has been cutting costs and selling assets to help pay off its $1.7 billion purchase of the US Del Monte Foods brand in 2014. It recently also sold $120m of shares in its Philippine operations, according to reports in Manila. The buyer, investment company SEA Diner Holdings, has also partnered with Del Monte Pacific to sell its products into the growing convenience shop sector in China and South East Asia.