McCormick sells Va. subsidiary


After nine months of searching for a buyer, McCormick & Co. Inc. yesterday sold its Golden West Foods subsidiary, a money-losing maker of frozen onion rings and french toast sticks for fast-food restaurants.

The purchase price for the Bedford, Va., factory was not disclosed.

Carroll D. Nordoff, McCormick's executive vice president, said the buyer, Chicago-based food entrepreneur Frank B. Brooks, plans to retain all 160 workers at the plant.

With the sale, the Sparks-based spice company completes the 7 percent reduction of its staff announced in October, Mr. Nordoff said.

Using layoffs and early retirements, McCormick had already cut its staff by about 440 workers to about 7,600 workers, Mr. Nordoff said. The sale brings the staff reduction to the target of 600, he said. No Maryland workers will be affected by the Golden West sale, he said.

Over the last few years, Golden West has wavered between marginal profits and losses. Last year, the division lost money on sales of about $25 million, Mr. Nordoff said.

McCormick decided to sell the plant because "it is not in our core line. And it has not given us the financial return we were looking for," he said.

Mr. Brooks said he had been looking for another food business since he sold his 51 percent stake in the Chicago-based Brooks Sausage Co. in January.

In 1986, Mr. Brooks formed a venture with OSI Inc., a large supplier to McDonald's Corp., to supply sausages to fast-food restaurants. The sausage company became one of the nation's biggest minority-owned suppliers to McDonald's and finished last year with $30 million in sales.

Mr. Brooks said he is optimistic he can make Golden West profitable. "I think we can make a real go of it. I think we can lower prices, be a little more efficient, and build more volume," he said.

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