Smithfield Foods postpones plans for new Baltimore Esskay plant

February 09, 1993|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Staff Writer

After months of waiting, supporters of a new Esskay plant in Baltimore have been told they will have to wait until financial conditions improve for Esskay's parent company.

David B. McLaughlin, a spokesman for Esskay, said Smithfield Foods Inc. officials have decided that "until economic conditions improve, the corporation won't make any capital expenditures."

"For the time being, it puts the situation on hold," Mr. McLaughlin said. Besides a bad hog market, Smithfield has also had to contend with problems at a new plant in North Carolina, he said.

Smithfield Foods closed most of its 70-year-old plant at 3800 E. Baltimore St. and laid off 380 workers at the end of the year because of safety concerns raised by structural problems at the plant, which dates to the 1920s.

City and state officials had presented a plan for a new Esskay plant to Smithfield in early December.

About 50 people will continue to work at Esskay plant in Baltimore in distribution, sales and inventory, Mr. McLaughlin said.

Economic development officials from Baltimore and the state could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

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