The company plans to relocate processing operations currently located at its facility in Farmville, North Carolina, to the Wilson facility. The changes are expected to be made by September 2019, the beginning of the 2019 season, the leaf merchant said in a press release.
AOI said the Farmville facility will be retained for storage and special projects, and that it expects some jobs will shift from Farmville to the Wilson facility. "We recognise the impact this decision will have on our employees, their families, and the Farmville community, and are committed to helping those impacted as we consolidate our tobacco processing operations," Herbert Weatherford, regional director of AOI’s North and Central American operations, was quoted as saying. "We are focused on the success of the US tobacco industry, our contracted farmers and driving strategy and long-term sustainability to the US market."
The company said the decision was based on a review of its US tobacco operations and global events and trade conditions, including new and rising tariffs on US leaf, export declines and a strong US dollar. Pieter Sikkel, Pyxus International President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, reaffirmed AOI’s commitment to sourcing American leaf tobacco. “While this difficult, but necessary, decision results from a confluence of events, we remain committed to the US tobacco industry and continue to work diligently to improve the environment for our contracted growers. Consolidating our US tobacco processing operations in Wilson is designed to maximise efficiency and allows us to continue to competitively deliver value-added products and services to our customers."