Lamb Weston to Expand Fry Line in Oregon

Published online: Dec 29, 2017 Articles
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Source: Lamb Weston

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. on Dec. 21 announced an expansion of french fry processing capacity in North America and an increase in its quarterly dividend.

“The french fry category has been growing at attractive rates around the world, and we believe industry capacity has been challenged in recent years to keep up with continued growth in market demand,” said Tom Werner, president and CEO of Lamb Weston. “This investment in a new french fry processing line in the Columbia Basin reflects Lamb Weston’s continued commitment to support our strategic partners as they continue to grow their businesses in North America and abroad.”

 

Capacity Expansion

Lamb Weston announced an investment to expand operations at its Hermiston, Ore., processing facility with the construction of a 300 million pound-per-year, state-of-the-art french fry line. The new line will be modeled on the company’s recently operational production line in Richland, Wash., and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. The new Hermiston line is intended to support growth in North America, as well as exports to Asia where demand growth has been and is expected to remain strong. The expansion is expected to add approximately 170 full-time positions.

Oregon governor Kate Brown has approved an award from the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund to help move the project forward. The award is intended to support infrastructure development at the site and workforce training and diversification.

“I’m happy to announce this new state investment as part of my focus on growing a thriving Oregon economy in all parts of our state,” Brown said. “In addition to supporting our rural economies and booming agriculture industry, this investment provides critical workforce training opportunities in well-paying jobs in eastern Oregon.”

The total investment for the new line is expected to be approximately $250 million, with capital expenditures of approximately $25 million and $225 million in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

Dividend

Lamb Weston’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.19125 per share of Lamb Weston common stock, up from $0.1875 per share in the prior quarter. The dividend is payable on March 2, 2018 to stockholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 2, 2018.

In addition, the company stated that it will target an annual dividend payout ratio of 25 percent to 35 percent of adjusted diluted earnings per share.