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General Mills to close cereal plant in Toledo

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - General Mills Inc. said Wednesday that it will close one of its plants that makes Cheerios and other cereals, laying off 459 workers.

The decision comes a day after General Mills won federal approval of its plan to buy Pillsbury Co., a move that will combine the nation's No. 1 cereal maker with the top U.S. producer of refrigerated doughs.

General Mills is closing the plant because its adjoining Betty Crocker factory and other Pillsbury dessert mix lines are being sold to International Multifoods Corp. to alleviate antitrust issues, said Tom Forsythe, spokesman for Golden Valley, Minn.-based General Mills.

Federal antitrust laws would prohibit General Mills from operating the cereal plant next to its competitors' Betty Crocker plant, he said.

General Mills will shift its cereal production and equipment to other plants. Cheerios are made at several other plants in the United States.

General Mills leads the U.S. market in ready-to-eat cereals, followed by Kellogg Co., which makes Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes, among other brands.

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