Smucker's takeover of Folgers to mean more jobs

Friday, October 31, 2008 | 2:46 p.m. CDT

ORRVILLE, Ohio — In an economic climate of layoffs and downsizing, J.M. Smucker Co. is adding workers and will see its stock added to a major index on the strength of the company's upcoming acquisition of Folgers Coffee Co.

The northeast Ohio jelly maker will add 150 to 200 jobs in the next year to the 1,300 at its headquarters in Orrville, about 45 miles south of Cleveland.

The growth can be attributed to the Folgers merger, which will nearly double its size, as well as overall growth at the company, said spokeswoman Maribeth Badertscher.

Smucker got a boost in its stock price Friday, a day after Standard & Poor's said it would add the growing company to the S&P 500 index next week.

Shares rose 5 percent, or $2.17 to $45.65, in midday trading. Smucker shares have traded over the last year in a range of $40.08 to $56.69.

The Smucker-Folgers merger is expected to close on Thursday. Folgers is being acquired from Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. in an all-stock deal valued at $3.3 billion.

Smucker will gain 1,250 new employees, mostly at four plants in New Orleans, Kansas City, and Sherman, Texas, as part of the Folgers deal. Before the merger, Smucker had about 3,500 employees.

The company also is gaining a distribution center in New Orleans and offices in Cincinnati, though some Folgers employees will be moving from Cincinnati to Orrville. The company plans to add new office space to its rural headquarters.

Tim Smucker, the company's co-chief executive, said it's important to have employees in one location.

"We have a big emphasis on person-to-person contact, even in the days of e-mails and voice mails," said Smucker, who is chairman of the board and co-chief executive with his brother, Richard.

Smucker products include Crisco cooking oil, Jif peanut butter, Uncrustables sandwiches, Pillsbury baking mixes and Hungry Jack potatoes and pancakes.

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