Cargill has purchased the FPL Food, LLC ground beef processing plant in Columbia, SC. The 100,000-sq.-ft. plant that employs more than 200 people will complement the company’s existing meat processing facilities in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Cargill says the acquisition enhances the company's ability to serve eastern retail and foodservice customers. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed, and the transaction is expected to close around the end of March.

“Cargill ground beef customers served by this plant will benefit from closer proximity to supplies and improved transit time for their orders,” says John Keating, president of Wichita-based Cargill Beef. “We are acquiring an excellent facility, with outstanding people and capabilities. This acquisition underscores our ongoing commitment to grow our protein business and will enable us to better serve retail and foodservice customers in a region where people love ground beef."

“We're looking forward to the opportunity to remain a key supplier of quality beef to the plant and know that the fine people working there will become part of Cargill's terrific beef team,” says Francois Paul Léger, founder of FPL Food. “This sale allows FPL Food to focus on its core business of raising and harvesting cattle. It is a win-win scenario for ground beef customers, plant employees, the community, FPL Food and Cargill.”

Cargill's North American beef business is one of the largest producers of ground beef products in the world, with numerous processing plants in the US and Canada. Ground beef is versatile and used for dishes ranging from premium gourmet hamburgers to an ingredient in chili and meat sauces, taco filling, meatballs, meatloaf and many other recipes.