LeForce renew interest in FBO9 October 2002
LeForce Signature Beef in Oklahoma City, are 'aggressively evaluating' the prospect of acquiring the Future Beef Operations plant in Arkansas City. 'There's no time line, other than we are aggressively evaluating the prospect - very aggressively', said David Mitchell, ceo of LeForce Signature Beef. 'We are in the process of developing a definitive agreement with the (Chapter 7) trustee.' A final decision will made 'in the near future'. LeForce Signature Beef first showed interest in acquiring Future Beef following the company's application for Chapter 11 protection on March 4 this year. At that time, LeForce made an offer to buy the plant for an undisclosed sum. When FBO's status was converted to Chapter 7 liquidation, LeForce again showed interest in acquiring the plant by sending a letter of intent to the Chapter 7 trustee. LeForce Signature Beef refused to comment further on their latest offer: 'We aren't going to discuss terms and conditions', Mitchell said. LeForce Signature Beef were established about 18 months ago, and if the acquisition is approved, it will become LeForce's first production plant. Mitchell said: 'We were designing our own plant, and were in the process of selecting locations for that plant when the Future Beef situation arose', he said. 'I think it's safe to say we have a high level of interest in the plant, for all of the obvious reasons.' The 45,000 sq ft processing plant was designed with state-of-the-art food-safety and air-quality equipment, plus a high-tech video-imaging system to examine each carcass and ensure high product quality. The plant fits in perfectly with LeForce's own goals of providing high-quality beef for customers. The company have already sought out livestock suppliers who have similar high standards. 'We already have - and will add a few more - supply chain partners to the process', Mitchell said. 'We need those partners to be the right kind of partners that look at the business the way we do. We feel like the consumer deserves a quality, consistent product.' However, LeForce admit that production would start a lower level than Future Beef. And LeForce would not initially include some of the value-added departments FBO had, such as a tannery. 'In our evaluation process, we would want to ensure that we would be profitable at some level before we would want to go to the full ramped-up level', Mitchell said. The company also plan to avoid the same dependence FBO appeared to have on one customer. 'Our outlook would be different as far as customer base', Mitchell said. 'We can't get into detail at this point.'