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PITTSBURGH -- With a $20 million offer, Giant Eagle, Inc., based here, has emerged as the winning bidder for the LeNature's plant in Latrobe, Pa. The chain plans to reopen the idled plant in about eight weeks, according to local reports.
A spokesman for the company said the plant, shuttered in December when it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, will initially be used to make Giant Eagle-labeled bottled water and iced tea. Giant Eagle said it plans to employ roughly 50 full-time workers, with the laid-off LeNature's workers getting primary consideration for jobs.
Previously, a court-appointed trustee for Le-Nature's agreed to sell the plant to Giant Eagle for $20 million before the chain lowered its bid to $18.9 million after reviewing the property.
Cadbury Schweppes Bottling Group, Inc., meanwhile, entered a competing bid of $19 million, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
During a brief auction held by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough, Giant Eagle renewed its $20 million bid. Cadbury Schweppes, a unit of United Kingdom-based Cadbury Schweppes PLC, stuck to its $19 million offer.