Louis Dreyfus Commodities LLC, which is acquiring Imperial Sugar, plans to keep running Imperial’s small-bag packaging facility in Gramercy, according to Imperial.
The plant packages the small bags of sugar sold by grocery stores and other retailers. The facility employs 95 people.
Imperial issued a statement saying Louis Dreyfus intends to continue operating all of Imperial’s existing industrial facilities. Louis Dreyfus officials could not be reached for comment.
In the deal announced Tuesday, Louis Dreyfus will buy financially troubled Imperial for $77.5 million in cash. Louis Dreyfus will pay $6.35 per share for Imperial, 57 percent more than Imperial shares closed at on Monday. With debt and pension liabilities included, the deal is worth $203 million.
In a news release, Louis Dreyfus Chief Executive Officer Mikael Morn said Imperial is an excellent fit for his company.
“This transaction is an important step forward in our plan to grow and diversify our global sugar activities from sugar cane crushing and international sugar trading into sugar refining and distribution in major consumer markets,” Morn said.
Imperial Sugar had a long history in Gramercy. It formerly operated a refinery that employed hundreds of people and was a mainstay of St. James Parish’s economy.
The refinery closed on Dec. 31, 2010. At the time, the refinery employed 283 people, most of them union members.
Imperial continued running the facility that packaged small bags of sugar carried by grocers and other retailers, such as convenience stores and drug store chains.
The old refinery then was replaced by a new $190 million plant owned in equal parts by agribusiness giant Cargill Inc.; Imperial; and Sugar Growers and Refiners Inc., a co-op with nine mills and around 700 growers. Imperial agreed to the joint venture to get access to the co-op’s raw sugar.
The new, nonunion refinery employs around 115 people. Louisiana Sugar also took over packaging for anything weighing more than 50 pounds.
In December, Cargill and Sugar Growers and Refiners announced they had bought Imperial’s piece of the refinery. Cargill and the growers each own 50 percent of the sugar refinery.