Tyson Foods, Inc. has entered into an agreement to sell its Otay Mesa based Circle Foods L.L.C. operations to Japanese food producer, Ajinomoto Co. Inc. The transaction is being handled by Ajinomoto’s U.S. subsidiary, Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc.
The news comes after Tyson indicated it may be letting go 401 of its South Bay workers in April.
“We are purchasing these assets to meet the ever growing demand for our Mexican products,” said Paul Taylor, Vice President of Ajinomoto North America Division.
Taylor added that Ajinomoto will retain as many workers as possible and is looking into adding additional production capability at the plant.
“We anticipate this transaction to be completed this spring, and are working with Ajinomoto Windsor on a transition plan for operations,” Tyson said in a statement. “As part of this transaction, we will retain some elements and assets of our San Diego operations. Our primary focus will be to continue delivering results for our customers by producing high quality products.”
“My understanding is, and from what we've been told by the folks at Tyson, is that Windsor is going to keep some of the lines there," said Cindy Gompper Graves, CEO and president of South County Economic Development Council. "Some of the lines of foods but not all of them, but some of the lines and bring in some of the other ones.”
The South County Economic Development Council is working with the San Diego Workforce Partnership to assist employees laid off from Circle Foods with getting back into the workforce.
Circle Foods is known for its Mexican food production under the brands TortillaLand and Nuevo Grille.
Tyson, a Springdale, Arkansas based company known for its chicken production, first acquired Circle Foods in 2013 from Claridge Inc., a Montreal-based private equity firm.
This story was updated to include comments from Paul Taylor, Vice President of Ajinomoto North America Division.