UPDATE 2-Tyson Foods to shut 3 factories, cut 950 jobs
(Adds details about settling case with Labor department)
July 25 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc said it will discontinue operations at three of its factories which make processed meat products such as sausages and hot dogs, affecting about 950 people.
The largest U.S. meat processor, which won the bidding war for Hillshire Brands Co in June, said the closures were not related to the acquisition.
"The decision to close these plants was underway long before the (Hillshire) discussions began", Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told Reuters.
Tyson outbid Pilgrim's Pride Corp with its $63 per share offer for Hillshire, valuing the Jimmy Dean sausages maker at $8.55 billion.
The closures were due to changing product needs, an aging Cherokee, Iowa factory and the distance of the Buffalo, New York and Santa Teresa, New Mexico plants from their raw material supply base, the company said on Friday.
"The consolidation helps them get transportation efficiencies," Chris Hurt, an agricultural economist with Purdue University, said.
The number of beef cattle in the United States is at its lowest level in 63 years due to severe droughts, reducing the amount of meat available to process.
The Cherokee factory will close on Sep. 27, while the other two are expected to stop operating in the first half of 2015. Continuación...