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Tyson Foods Inc. announced Wednesday that it is creating a new division, under which it will realign several of its food businesses.

The company also announced it is to sell its Willow Brook Foods processing plant in Albert Lea, Minn. The turkey processing plant is being bought by its current managers and San Antonio-based MCMI Food Co.The new Tyson Prepared Foods Group will include eight processing plants, a freezer facility and about 3,500 employees.

``This move will allow us to focus on the unique qualities and markets of each of the group's units, while exploring the potential that exists in the synergies made possible by this realignment,' said Wayne Butler, president of the new division.

The move is effective immediately the company said.

The new division will include:

Tyson's Mexican Original operations, which produce corn and flour tortillas with plants in Fayetteville, Sanford and Portland, Ind.

Tyson's Entree processing plant in Fayetteville, which makes frozen meals.

The company's Chicago-based Culinary Foods division, which makes food for airlines and retail, food service and wholesale club markets.

Terms of the cash deal for the Minnesota plant were not revealed by Tyson.

Leland Tollett, chairman and chief executive officer of Springdale-based Tyson, said the sale is part of a previously announced program to restructure the company.

The plant was owned by Hudson Foods Inc., which Tyson bought last January. The sale is expected to close in November.


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