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FORT SMITH, Ark.
Fort Smith-based chicken company O.K. Industries Inc. announced Friday that it is being purchased by the leading poultry firm in Mexico.
Privately-held O.K. Industries and its subsidiary, O.K. Foods, employ about 4,000 people at poultry plants in western Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The buyer, Celaya, Mexico-based Industrias Bachoco S.A.B. de C.V., has about $2 billion in annual sales, compared to $600 million for O.K. Industries, a 78-year-old family-run business.
In contrast, their Springdale-based competitor, Tyson Foods Inc., had revenue of $28.43 billion last fiscal year.
Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. The transaction takes place immediately, pending regulatory approval.
The announcement came one day after major Fort Smith employer Whirlpool Corp. announced it would close its refrigerator factory in mid-2012, putting 1,000 workers on the street.
There was no indication of any planned job cuts in the Bachoco announcement.
The buyout marks a new tack by Bachoco as it works to expand.
"This acquisition is one of the most transcendental steps for Bachoco, since it is our first international acquisition and first entry into the U.S. poultry market," Bachoco Chief Executive Officer Rodolfo Ramos said.
Bachoco's primary product lines are chicken, table eggs, balanced feed and swine. O.K. Industries, which has hatcheries, farms, processing plants and feed mills, sells its products in the U.S. and abroad.
Ramos said the company will learn from O.K. Industries' management team about the U.S. chicken market and will help Bachoco expand its offerings and territory.
"With the acquisition of O.K. Industries, Bachoco reinforces its commitment to serving its markets, through the incorporation of its nearly 4,000 local workers into the company's workforce, as well as hundreds of regional growers," Ramos said.
Bachoco shares traded Friday afternoon at $22.50 on the New York Stock Exchange, down 7 cents per share. The company is also traded on the Mexican Stock Exchange.