Sunland peanut plant now the object of a bidding war

Posted at: 03/24/2014 6:23 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A troubled peanut plant in Portales that closed following a nationwide salmonella outbreak is now at the center of a bidding war.

The plant filed for bankruptcy after the outbreak sickened 40 people in 20 states.

The plant closed in October, leaving more than 100 workers without a job.

“I definitely did not see it coming," said worker Liz Chavez.

Chavez has been on unemployment ever since.

“It was a little hard because of course I had been working here for seven years and it was pretty much an everyday job for me,” said Chavez.  “It was kind of like my second home."

That second home may soon have a new owner.

In an auction last week, Hampton Farms of North Carolina had the winning bid of $20 million dollars.

But just before the sale was complete, a last minute cash offer of $25 million came in from Canada’s Golden Boy Foods.

Workers hope whoever gets the plant puts them back on the job.

“I hope I get re-hired and am able to get back to work," said Chavez.

It’s up to a federal bankruptcy judge in Albuquerque to decide who gets the plant.

Hampton Farms has said it does plan to re-open the plant.

Canada’s Golden Boy Foods has not said what it has planned for the plant if it gets the deal.