California company wants to buy Sunland

PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – A California company wants to buy the now defunct Portales peanut plant at the center of a nationwide salmonella outbreak.

In October, Sunland Inc. filed for bankruptcy putting more than 100 people out of work.

“She called me that morning and told me the plant closed. I thought it was just a rumor,” said Lucila Jacobo.

Jacobo’s mom worked at the peanut plant for 16 years. Today, she still doesn’t have a steady income.

“It hurt a lot financially,” said Jacobo. “My dad actually had to quit his job in Portales and move to Carlsbad to work in the oil fields.”

But that could soon change.

Court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Clarke Coll, says Ready Roast Nut Co. in California has signed a purchase agreement to buy Sunland’s assets for $18.5 million.

Coll says the company also plans to reopen the plant in Portales.

“I think it’s extremely important for the economy of Portales, the county as well as the state to retain a large corporation, a business like this in the state.” said Coll.

He says if the deal goes through, Ready Roast would own all of Sunland’s major assets including it’s inventory, its equipment, its property and its plant.

Portales city officials say it’s a move in the right direction.

“That’s just huge. That’s just certainly what we want to see. It benefits our citizens and benefits our operations as well,” said Portales City Manager Doug Redmond.

Jacobo agrees.

“It’s actually pretty relieving to know that it’s going to open up again, hopefully,” she said.

Sunland recalled more than 100 nut products during the national salmonella outbreak in 2012.

Forty-one people in 20 states got sick.

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