Sara Lee Spreads St Joseph Plant - Analyst Blog

The world's leading meat processor Sara Lee Corporation ( SLE ) has planned to pump in $3 million for its St. Joseph Plant, with the aim of expanding it by another 29,000-square-foot.

The expansion will create 55 more jobs to the already 650 workers employed in the plant and make the meat plant the ninth-largest employer in the region.

The 29,000 square-foot expansion will be carried out by Miron Construction Co. and Hixson of Cincinnati will be engaged as the architect.

Sara Lee Moves To Chicago

Separately, Sara Lee announced its plans to move its new North American Meats corporate headquarters from Downers Grove, Illinois, to Chicago, in early 2013. The company has not yet recognized the location for its international beverage business's headquarters. Nonetheless, as expected it will be located overseas.

The Major Restructuring Changes

The company is undergoing major changes in its structure. Poised to get stronger in the global platform of coffee business, Sara Lee Corporation moved a step closer to its goal as this month it agreed to acquire the leading Dutch café store operator, CoffeeCompany. The deal is expected to close within the next 30 days.

It has also announced its plans to streamline its portfolio to provide the best foundation for a strong and focused business. In pursuit of a stronger business, it has more plans stored up for the future.

Meanwhile, Sara Lee, is planning to split itself into two public companies in the first half of next year. The North American unit will be one company and include brands such as Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm. The international beverage business will be another company, and will include brands such as Pickwick and Maison du Cafe.

Slimming Redundant Parts

Recently, Sara Lee has been chucking its redundant units one by one to focus on its most profitable food and beverage businesses.

Last October, Sara Lee shed its North American private brand refrigerated dough business to Ralcorp Holdings, Inc ( RAH ) for approximately $545 million. The deal was signed in August 2011.

The company also announced its decision to sell the French refrigerated dough unit. Recently, Franco-Canadian private equity firm, Sagard, has emerged as the final bidder in the deal.

For fiscal 2012, Sara Lee affirmed its earnings guidance to be in the range of 89 cents to 95 cents per share, amidst unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates and the reclassification of North American Foodservice Beverage as a discontinued operation.

Currently, Sara Lee holds a Zacks #3 Rank implying a short-term Hold rating. On a long-term basis, we maintain a Outperform rating on the stock.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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