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Bob Evans to expand Xenia Twp. plant

Bob Evans Farms Inc. has told Greene County officials that it will expand its BEF Foods food processing plant on Birch Road, but the company is providing few additional details.

The Columbus-based company — soon to move its headquarters to New Albany, Ohio — filed notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week that it will close its food production plant in Richardson, Texas in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. About 111 workers will be impacted by the closure, the company said.

As part of that plan, the company will expand plants in Xenia Township and Hillsdale, Mich. Bob Evans will invest $4 million of capital in fiscal 2014 and $10 million in fiscal 2015 to add equipment to both facilities “to absorb the Richardson capacity,” the company said in its filing.

The company expects a total annual pre-tax benefit of about $2 million to $2.5 million from the consolidation plan.

Beyond that, Bob Evans is saying little.

“The production from the Richardson plant will be shifted to our Xenia, Ohio, and Hillsdale, Mich., facilities, and we’re currently evaluating opportunities for additional investments in those facilities,” Bob Evans spokeswoman Margaret Standing said in an email to the Dayton Daily News on Tuesday. “But it is too soon to quantify the possible investment in Xenia, or to know how many additional jobs this may lead to at that facility.”

“The company notified the county and city that they were going upgrade their production facility and equipment here locally, but there was no indication that there would be an increase in jobs,” said David Kell, Greene County economic development director.

Steve Brodsky, Xenia development director, said company representatives spoke to local officials about six weeks ago. The company told local officials it intended to update production lines and make improvements in anticipation of the Texas plant closing, he said, but “they weren’t sure what impact it would have as far as additional people,” Brodsky said.

M+A Architects in Columbus have filed construction drawings with the county showing plans for a new 4,684-square-foot building at the Xenia Twp. plant. Standing did not respond to a question about whether those plans are tied to the expansion. Greene County buildings officials could not be immediately reached.

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