New Viking Range owner cuts 20 percent of workers

By The Associated Press

GREENWOOD — Viking Range Corp.’s new owner is laying off one-fifth of the company’s workers.

Middleby Corp, based near Chicago, said it laid off about 140 of Viking’s 700 employees Thursday.

Layoffs are effective immediately, with a majority in Viking’s hometown of Greenwood. Spokeswoman Darcy Bretz says she doesn’t know if fired workers are receiving severance pay.

Viking cooking schools in Ridgeland, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn., will close.

Middleby bought Viking for $380 million from shareholders including founder Fred Carl and Arkansas’ Stephens family.

The purchaser aims to increase Viking’s sales and profits while cutting costs. Bretz says layoffs were spread across the company but were heavier in some departments

Carl and Viking have worked to revitalize Greenwood’s downtown, including a luxury hotel and cooking school there. Those operations will stay open.