Campbell Soup Co. plans to layoff hundreds of workers, close plants around the country and sell some of its less than profitable businesses in its latest move to boost sales and earnings.
Campbell also said Thursday it would buy back up to $2.5 billion worth of its own stock - a step intended to make remaining shares more valuable. Details about the offer will be announced next week.
Campbell said the restructuring would reduce earnings by about $160 million after taxes in the first quarter of fiscal 1997. The announcement came a day after Campbell reported a 26 percent increase in earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 1996.
Campbell ended speculation about pending layoffs, announcing it would cut 650 jobs in North America, including 175 positions at its world headquarters in Camden. The company has about 44,000 employees.
The company also said it would close a ramen noodle plant in Atlanta and a poultry research facility in Farmington, Ark., and a seasonal tomato paste processing plant in Sacramento, Calif. A Pepperidge Farm biscuits operation in Lakeland, Fla., will be reconfigured.
Campbell also said it will sell poultry processing facilities in Douglas, Ga.; Tecumseh, Neb.; and Worthington, Minn.