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Southwest Missouri News--Joplin

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Marti Attoun, Joplin area

Jasper Foods Inc., which operates a popcorn plant in Jasper and a cereal plant in Joplin, has been sold to the Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation.

Ken Haubein, company president, made the announcement Feb. 1.

Gilster-Mary Lee is the second largest private-label cereal manufacturer in the United States, behind Ral-corp Holdings.

The company makes more than

25 cereal varieties, along with cake

mixes, macaroni-and-cheese dinners, spaghetti, potato products and microwave popcorn.

The company reported $483 million in sales during the 1998 fiscal year.

Immediate plans are to continue operating both local plants, according to Michael Welge, chief financial officer of Gilster-Mary Lee.

The Chester, Ill.-based company operates plants in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado.

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