Workplace

No word yet on reopening Hostess plant in Lenexa

Updated: 2013-07-22T16:12:04Z

By DIANE STAFFORD

The Kansas City Star

Flowers Foods has completed its $355 million purchase of 20 former Hostess Brands bakeries and 36 distribution depots around the country, including plants in Lenexa and Boonville, Mo.

The Thomasville, Ga.,-based company said Monday that it would give no indication yet about possible reopening of the bakeries, which made Wonder bread and buns, among other Hostess labels.

“Initially, we are able to meet consumer demand through our existing bakeries,” Flowers said in a website posting. “Our hope is that consumer demand will increase as we re-introduce the Hostess bread brands. We are planning to re-open bakeries as we need additional capacity.”

Company spokesman Keith Hancock said that for competitive reasons Flowers would not be any more specific about plans for the aquired bakeries.

The only information available for now is that some Hostess bread brands are expected to return to Flowers’ selected “core markets” later this year.

The Lenexa bakery, which made bread and buns, had employed about 200 workers. The Boonville plant, which made buns, had employed about 90. Both are outside Flowers current core market area.

The former owners of Hostess Brands had closed all plants last November and liquidated the company in bankruptcy proceedings.

Four former Hostess snack cake plants, including a bakery in Emporia, Kan., already have reopened under new ownership by an investor partnership of Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management.

The former Hostess assets were largely divided into snack cake acquisitions by the Metropoulos group and bread line acquisitions by Flowers, a company that is publicly traded under the FLO symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.

Flowers is the second-largest baking company in the United States. It has completed 12 bakery company acquisitions in the last decade.

Flowers said that as the bread market dictates it would start to reintroduce Hostess products in “selected Flowers core markets.” The company current distributes from Maine to California, in an arc that extends down the Eastern seaboard, through the Southeast and across the South.

“Consumer across much of the country can expect to see thse well-known and loved bread brands returning to store shelves over time,” Flowers chief executive Allen Shiver said in a press release.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com.

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