A proposed merger of Sysco Foods and another major national food distributor, US Foods, is raising questions about how each company’s warehouse operations in southern Saratoga County will be affected.
Both companies have large local food distribution centers — US Foods on Pierce Road in Clifton Park and Sysco off Route 9 in Halfmoon.
The deal announced Monday by both companies has Houston-based Sysco acquiring US Foods for $3.5 billion. Including stock and debt acquisition, the total value of the deal was put at $8.2 billion. Sysco has about 48,000 employees nationwide, while US Foods, based in the Chicago area, has about 25,000.
About 450 people work at Sysco’s Halfmoon facility, while US Foods employs about 300 people at its Pierce Road warehouse — located less than a mile away as the crow flies.
Local officials are concerned about whether both facilities will continue operation under the merger. Sysco said it expects the merger to lead to annual savings of about $600 million after three or four years.
“I think it’s far too early to speculate what may occur from this proposed merger,” said Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett. “It’s definitely something to be concerned about, and we will watch closely as this progresses.”
Sysco provides food services to many large institutions, while US Foods is more focused on restaurants, but there’s a significant overlap in the kinds of establishments they supply.
“Sysco and US Foods have highly complementary core strengths,” Sysco President and CEO Bill DeLaney said in announcing the agreement.
Dennis Brobston, president of the Saratoga Economic Development Corp., agreed it’s too early to know the impact, but he said there’s some reason for optimism.
“They do similar things, but they all each have a little niche,” said Brobston, whose organization markets Saratoga County to business. “My hope is that they will continue to employ the people they do.”
In October, US Foods announced it had acquired Quandt’s Foodservice Distributors of Amsterdam and would close that facility, eliminating about 100 local jobs.
The Sysco-US Foods deal isn’t expected to close until the third quarter of 2014, the companies said.