ConAgra Foods completes purchase of Ralcorp

Cedar Rapids plant not expected to undergo significant changes

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ConAgra Foods on Tuesday completed its $6.8 billion acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings of St. Louis, which operates a Ralston Foods plant in northeast Cedar Rapids.

Omaha-based ConAgra Foods on Nov. 26 agreed to acquire Ralcorp for $90 per share of Ralcorp common stock in cash. The combined company will have 36,000 employees and annual sales of about $18 billion, including $4.5 billion in combined annual private brand sales.

The Ralston Foods plant at 601 16th St. NE employs 150 in the manufacture of private label cereal. At the time the deal was announced, a ConAgra Foods spokesman said a team will look at how the two companies will combine operations, but  there is very little overlap between the food makers.

No changes were announced by either company Tuesday. Employees of the Cedar Rapids plant are not expected to see significant changes, according to a Ralcorp spokesman when the merger was announced.

"We are now in a position to begin the most substantial aspects of integration planning and look forward to learning from and working with our new colleagues," said Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods. "This important acquisition reinforces and accelerates our ‘Recipe for Growth’ strategy, which also includes growth in our core business and adjacencies, and expansion internationally."

The landmark Cedar Rapids Ralston Foods plant was known as National Oats until April 1994, when it became part of Ralston Foods. It produces oatmeal — instant and regular — sold under store brands, such as Hy-Vee, Publix and Safeway, as well as Grits, Farina, Bran and Hot Ralston.

Ralcorp Holdings' private label products include cereal, pasta, crackers, jellies and jams, syrups and frozen waffles.

ConAgra Foods owns JM Swank in North Liberty, a food ingredient supplier. The Omaha company also operates a pudding manufacturing plant in Waterloo and a frozen meal assembly plant in Council Bluffs.


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