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Twinkies Maker Hostess To Close After Strike

(c) Sky News 2012

The maker of iconic American treats such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread is closing its plants and liquidating its 82-year-old business.

Hostess Brands announced on Friday it would lay off all of its 18,500 workers after a national strike crippled its operations.

The company had warned employees it would file a motion for bankruptcy if plant operations did not return to normal levels by Thursday evening.

Not enough striking employees returned to work by the deadline.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer.

"Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

It will mean the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centres, around 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.

The nationwide strike began on November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) 9 when Hostess introduced new terms and conditions that cut wages by 8%.

Unions said benefits would also be slashed by up to 32%.

The Texas-based company, which is privately owned by two hedge funds, filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade.

It is likely the future of the biggest brands will be decided by a court auction or by liquidators.

Twinkies will be an attractive proposition but not all Hostess's 30 or so brands are likely to be snapped up by other manufacturers.