Warm Southern Breeze

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The Chinese Own Smithfield, And Germans Own Krispy Kreme. Which American Corporation Will Sell Out Next??

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 29, 2021

So… today, this morning, I spent about $10 with Krispy Kreme.

If you’re a Southerner reading this, you know what that means.

If you’re not a Southerner, or are otherwise uninformed, Krispy Kreme is the North Carolina-heeadquartered company that has for years made the most delightfully light, fluffy, airy doughnuts.

They’re NOT at all like Dunkin’ Doughnuts, which are heavy, doughy, bread-cake like doughnuts. There is NO comparison whatsoever.

It’s like the difference between a Model-T, and a F1. Even though they’re both cars, they’re worlds apart.

But what I wanted to focus upon is a portion of the brief, pleasant exchange I had with the clerk in the store.

I had decided to stop in as I was returning home from taking Queenie to the veterinarian’s office for ACL surgery today. As I was nearing the area, the thought “doughnuts” occurred to me, and I knew the KK was nearby. As I drew closer, another thought occurred to me: The locally-owned-and-hometown-operated doughnut shop a little further down the road.

Not wanting to drive any further, even though it wasn’t far, per se, I opted for the nearest shop, which was the KK.

Even though I’m not a “shopaholic,” nor adherent, nor promoter of “retail therapy,” I’m fortunate to live in an area that’s conveniently located to many different shops and retailers. Some folks have to drive quite a distance to do so almost anything, whereas I do not. So, I count my blessings, in a manner of speaking.

I had donned a facemask before I walked in, looked around briefly – I was the only customer present – and made my selection. I was chit-chatting with the clerk, and telling her about Queenie, the sweet li’l gul dawg that adopted me a few years ago, and showed her some pics of Queenie. As I was completing the purchase, I causally said, “So… y’all’re owned by Germans, now.”

“No,” she simply said.

I politely rebutted, “Yes, you are. Y’all may be headquartered in North Carolina, but you’re owned by Germans.”

And with that, she turned away to other tasks in the shop.It doesn’t surprise me that folks wouldn’t know that Krispy Kreme has been owned by Germans for several years now, since 2016. Americans, by and large, are blithely(?) unaware of the goings-on of the companies for which they work. Most folks probably DO NOT KNOW that Smithfield – the famous Virginia-based brand name associated with ham, and pork products – is now a Chinese-owned company… and has been for several years.

Here’s what Smithfield has written in part about their sale to the Chinese:
About Shuanghui International Holdings Limited

“Shuanghui International Holdings Limited is a Hong Kong-based privately held company that owns a variety of businesses that include food and logistics. Shuanghui International and its subsidiaries are the majority shareholders of China’s largest meat processor, Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co. Ltd., which is publicly listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 000895. More information about Shuanghui International is available at www.shuanghui-international.com.” [NOTE: The website/URL is a DEAD LINK.]

Shuanghui International Holdings changed its name in January 2014 to WH Group, through one of its subsidiaries, Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Company, which is owned by the Shanghui brand. The new name “WH” came from “Wanzhou Holdings.”

Forbes magazine wrote this in part about the company on April 16, 2020:

Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, has been making headlines for shutting down plants in three states after a rash of coronavirus cases hit its Sioux Falls, South Dakota operation. Less well known: Its Chinese billionaire owner Wan Long, who took a small Chinese state-owned meat processing plant and expanded it into a multinational company with more than $24 billion in annual sales. Now, the owner of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and Cook’s ham is scrambling to contain one of the largest coronavirus hot spots in the U.S.

As of Thursday, 598 Smithfield employees in South Dakota’s Minnehaha County have tested positive for COVID-19, as have 135 people who were not employed by Smithfield but were in close contact with its employees. The total cluster of 733 cases makes up more than half of the state’s total coronavirus cases, which stands at 1,311, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.

Founded in Smithfield, Virginia in 1936, Smithfield Foods boasts more than 40,000 U.S. employees with nearly 50 facilities across the country. In 2013, WH Group (formerly known as Shuanghui International Holdings) purchased Smithfield for $4.7 billion; including debt, the deal valued the firm at $7.1 billion, then the largest acquisition of a U.S. company by a Chinese business. WH Group went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange a year later, and furthered its American presence by buying Clougherty Packing, California’s largest pork processor, in 2017.

Wan Long, who at age 80 is chairman and CEO of WH Group, is the firm’s largest individual shareholder with a roughly 16% stake; Forbes estimates his net worth at $1.9 billion. Wan joined Henan Luohe Meat Products Processing United Factory — then a state-owned entity — in 1968, and eventually grew the business into WH Group. His son, Wan Hongjian, is now the deputy chairman and vice president of the group.

The first signs of trouble emerged at Smithfield Food on April 9, when it announced that it would suspend operations at its Sioux Falls facility for three days. The plant, which employs 3,700 people, produces nearly 130 million servings of food per week and accounts for as much as 5% of total U.S. pork production. On April 12, the company shuttered the facility indefinitely; as reports of coronavirus cases at the plant continued to rise, the company also announced the closure of two facilities in Wisconsin and Missouri on April 15.

In fact, Smithfield goes to great efforts to artfully dodge the fact that they’ve been owned by the Chinese since 2013.

I have written extensively about the matter of Smithfield’s sale to the Chinese, as well.

And, on their website, Smithfield goes to faux great lengths to pretend to show how “grateful” and “thankful” they are to their low-paid employee “heroes” who work like slaves in their corporate factories to ship food to China.

But knowing what I did – that KK has been German-owned since 2016 (see: “Krispy Kreme goes German: ist ein Berliner?” August 13, 2016; by Bo Emerson, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; https://www.ajc.com/news/krispy-kreme-goes-german-ist-ein-berliner/NIrdZQ4nzRWW8uQS1Nki7J/) – and that I’d not kept track of many firms or market news, it occurred to me that the possibility existed that KK could have been sold again, though I sincerely doubted that. And so, upon arriving at home, while noshing on the warm doughnuts with a glass of milk, I searched for the terms Krispy Kreme owned by Germans on DuckDuckGo.com.

What I found astonished me.

The German Family That Owns Krispy Kreme And Panera Is Reckoning With Its Nazi Past
by Daniel Roberts, Editor-at-Large, Yahoo! Finance
Updated April 7, 2019

Most American consumers are likely completely unaware that well-known food chains and coffee brands like Panera, Peet’s, Pret, Keurig, Krispy Kreme, Caribou, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown are all owned by a single private German company, JAB Holding.

But that may change now.

The family behind JAB, the Reimanns, is facing scrutiny for its Nazi past, after the German newspaper Bild reported that Albert Reimann Sr. and his son Albert Reimann Jr., both of whom are now deceased, had ties to the Third Reich.

According to Bild, both men were fierce Hitler supporters and anti-Semites, donated to the SS military force, and used forced labor of French prisoners in their factories.

In other words, the Reimann family fortune is rooted in the Nazi party. And that could put the brands in the JAB portfolio under the microscope like never before.

The four family members who own and run JAB today are descendants of German chemist Ludwig Reimann. The company is named after Ludwig Reimann’s business partner and father-in-law, Johann Adam Benckiser.

And the family fully acknowledges the facts of the Bild report. “It’s all correct,” Peter Harf, the managing partner of JAB Holding and spokesperson for the family, told Bild. “The family was absolutely ashamed.”

In the wake of the Bild report, the family is donating 10 million euros to a charity it has not named yet.

The Reimanns also say they hired a historian in 2014 to investigate their ancestry, but the historian’s full report will not be finished until 2020.

The business problem that now faces JAB’s many brands is whether consumers will show their disapproval with their dollars.

The full list of brands in the JAB portfolio is eye-popping: Panera, Peet’s, Krispy Kreme, Keurig-Dr. Pepper, JDE, Caribou, Intelligentsia, Stumptown, Brueggers Bagels, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels, Espresso House, Insomnia Cookies, and cosmetics company Coty, which owns Calvin Klein, Clairol, Covergirl, OPI, Marc Jacobs and more.

Of course, many companies that are household names today had well-documented ties to the Nazis during World War II or used forced labor, including Volkswagen, BMW, Bayer and Nestle.

Yahoo Finance has begun reaching out to all of the JAB-owned brands to request comment on the report about the Reimanns, and will update this post.

Daniel Roberts is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance who often covers food and coffee. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

Krispy Kreme Owners Admit To Family History Of Nazi Ties
By Chris Isidore, CNN Business
Updated 4:18 PM EDT, Mon March 25, 2019

The family that owns well-known consumer brands like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Keurig, Dr. Pepper and Panera Bread say their Nazi ancestors used slave labor during World War II.

The Reimann family, which owns the controlling stake in JAB Holdings and is reportedly one of the richest families in Germany, will donate €10 million, or $11 million, to a yet-undisclosed charity after a three-year investigation that it commissioned discovered details of their ancestors’ behavior.

A family spokesperson said Albert Reimann Sr., who died in 1954, and Albert Reimann Jr., who died in 1984, used Russian civilian prisoners and French prisoners of war as forced labor in their factories during the war, and that they were anti-Semites and avowed supporters of Adolf Hitler.

The investigation also found that Reimann Sr. donated to Hitler’s paramilitary SS force as early as 1931.

Investigators also found a letter from Reimann Jr. to a local mayor complaining that the French prisoners of war weren’t working hard enough and should be in prison.

“Reimann Senior and Reimann Junior were guilty. The two businessmen have passed away, but they actually belonged in prison,” said Peter Haft, the chairman and one of the managing partners of JAB Holdings, in an interview with German publication Bild. “We were ashamed and white as sheets. There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting.” A family spokesperson confirmed the quote to CNN Business.

The family expects to publish a book next year that will detail the ties.

JAB Holdings, which is based in Luxembourg, also owns Peet’s Coffee, Pret A Manger, Einstein’s Bagels and Coty.

The company acquired most of its best-known brands within the last several years. It took a stake in Coty in the early 1990s, and is the beauty company’s largest shareholder.

Owner Of Krispy Kreme And Panera Bread Acknowledges Nazi Past
By Kate Gibson
March 25, 2019; 4:02 PM; MoneyWatch

  • Germany’s second-richest family, which owns stakes in Krispy Kreme, Panera and other food brands through a company called JAB Holdings, acknowledged links to the Nazi Third Reich.
  • During World War II, JAB forced French prisoners of war and Russian civilians to work in the company’s factories.
  • JAB plans to donate $11 million to charity to help make up for its Nazi past.

The German family that holds majority stakes in food brands including Einstein Bros. Bagels, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Panera Bread had close financial ties to Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, a German newspaper reported.

Privately-held JAB Holdings, founded by the Reimann family in 1828, forced French prisoners of war and Russian civilians to work in its factories during World War II, according to the Bild tabloid. Forced labor was also used in private villas belonging to the family, which today owns 90 percent of JAB. Albert Reinmann Sr. and his son were avowed backers of Adolph Hitler, and Reimann Sr. helped finance the paramilitary SS force as early as 1933, the report said.

Both “have passed away, but they actually belong in prison,” Peter Harf, a manager partner at JAB and spokesperson for the family, told Bild.

Donation to charity

The company does not dispute the newspaper’s findings and plans to donate about $11 million to charity as a result of learning about its past, Harf told the paper.

A majority shareholder in beauty products company Coty, JAB has also acquired brands including Peet’s Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia. It purchased Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, which operates three national bagel chains, in 2014.

The Reimann family is worth an estimated $37 billion and is thought to be Germany’s second-richest family. It has commissioned a historian to write a report on the family’s ties to the Nazis, Harf said.

Other companies have had similar reckonings. Volkswagen, for instance, used concentration camp internees and prisoners of war as forced labor its its factories during the war, and its CEO recently apologized for using a Nazi slogan “work sets you free” at a company event.

First published on March 25, 2019 / 4:02 PM

German Family That Owns Krispy Kreme Admits It Profited From Nazi Ties

Upon learning that their ancestors had relied on forced labor, the family was ‘ashamed and white as sheets,’ a spokesperson said.

By Brigit Katz, SmithsonianMag.com; March 27, 2019

One of the wealthiest families in Germany, which owns controlling stakes in such companies as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Panera Bread and Peet’s Coffee, has admitted that it profited from forced labor during the Second World War. What’s more, reports Katrin Bennhold of the New York Times, recent revelations indicate that the two men who ran the family business in the 1930s and ’40s—Albert Reimann Sr. and his son Albert Reimann Jr.—actively participated in the abuse of their workers.

The German tabloid Bild broke the news of the Reimann family’s troubling past over the weekend, when it published a story based on an interim report delivered earlier this year by Paul Erker, an economic historian at the University of Munich, who was hired by the Reimanns to investigate the family’s Nazi ties. That investigation has been ongoing for more than four years, and is still not complete. But Peter Harf, the family’s spokesman and a managing partner of JAB Holding Company, which the Reimanns control, did not deny Bild’s account.

“Reimann Sr. and Reimann Jr. were guilty,” he told the publication, according to Deutsche Welle. “The two businessmen have passed away, but they actually belonged in prison.”

The report found that Reimann Sr. and Reimann Jr. were fervent anti-Semites and enthusiastic Nazi supporters, with the elder Reimann donating to the SS as early as 1931, two years before Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. During WWII, their industrial chemicals factory in southern Germany was powered by forced laborers: Russian and Eastern European civilians deported from their homes by the Nazis, along with prisoners of war from France. By 1943, the family’s company employed as many as 175 forced workers—a third of its workforce—who helped produce items for the German army, according to the Agence France-Presse. The Reimanns’ also used forced laborers in their private villas.

Workers were beaten, and women at the family’s factory were made to stand at attention in their barracks while naked, the Times’ Bennhold reports. If they refused, they were sexually abused.

The Reimanns were hardly alone in their reliance on forced labor. Over the course of the war, at least 12 million people were abducted into the German war economy. When it came to allocating the workers, companies that contributed to the Nazi war effort were given priority. Daimler-Benz, the company that makes Mercedes, used more than 46,000 forced laborers in its factories. Volkswagen employed “prisoners of war, concentration camp inmates (including Jews), and … Soviet and Polish civilian foreign forced laborers,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Hugo boss relied on 140 forced workers kidnapped from Poland and 40 French prisoners of war to make its Nazi uniforms.

But Andreas Wirsching, director of the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History, tells Bennhold that Reimann Sr. and Reimann Jr. were unusual in that they seemed to directly participate in the abuse of workers. “It was very common for companies to use forced laborers—but it was not common for a company boss to be in direct and physical contact with these forced laborers,” Wirsching explains.

Reimann Sr. and Reimann Jr. reportedly did not speak of their Nazi past following the war. But modern descendants became suspicious of their familial history when they looked through old documents that suggested links to the Third Reich. They commissioned Erker, the University of Munich historian, to conduct further investigations. Harf, the Reimann’s spokesperson, said that the family plans to release additional information once Erker’s account is finished.

The Reimanns’ chemical company eventually became part of the publicly traded multinational RB, which is valued at $58 billion, reports Bennhold. Today, much of the family’s fortune is in its “investment vehicle,” JAB, a conglomerate that most recently acquired numerous food and beverage chains, including Mighty Leaf Tea, Caribou Coffee and Pret A Manger. Last year, the Reimanns’ wealth was estimated to be 33 billion euros, or around $37 billion, reports the AFP.

In light of the revelations about their family’s Nazi past, the Reimanns plan to donate $11 million to an as-yet-unspecified charity, according to Deutsche Welle.

“We were ashamed and white as sheets,” Harf told Bild, as Deutsche Welle reports. “There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting.”

Brigit Katz is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including NYmag.com, Flavorwire and Tina Brown Media’s Women in the World.

But moreover, there is a greater problem, and it is this:

American companies are selling out to foreign interests… just to make a fast buck.

American companies that do such things should be penalized in a special way, such as paying a higher Corporate Income Tax rate, or some other monetary penalty, in order to LIMIT majority foreign ownership. That would be a matter of domestic national security – specifically as economic national security.

In fact, conceivably, Congress ~could~ pass a law specifically forbidding foreign ownership of over 49%, or more, of any domestic American business, or else they would be considered a foreign entity for Corporate Income Tax purposes.

The regulation of commerce is a Constitutionally enumerated responsibility of Congress as found in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 which states that “The Congress shall have power to… To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

It’s practically impossible to write about any single problem in America, no matter what it is, without touching upon some other ancillary, or germanely related and supporting matter.

One Response to “The Chinese Own Smithfield, And Germans Own Krispy Kreme. Which American Corporation Will Sell Out Next??”

  1. […] • Friday, January 29, 2021 – The Chinese Own Smithfield, And Germans Own Krispy Kreme. Which American Corporation Will Sell Out … […]


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