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Hostess shutters baking operations as it seeks to liquidate company

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The Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, which for more than 100 years operated a bakery in Jamaica until early last year, announced Friday it had shut down its baking operations around the country as it seeks permission to liquidate its assets.

The company said it filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court after one of its largest unions initiated a strike that crippled the baker, forcing it to close three plants Monday. Hostess warned Wednesday it would be forced to liquidate if the employees did not return to work and by Thursday it had decided the work stoppage had gone on too long to restore operations.

“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Chief Executive Officer Gregory Rayburn said Friday. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member work force and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

Hostess said it would continue making deliveries until it sells out of already-baked goods.

In January 2011 the company laid off more than 150 employees when it closed its Wonder Bread factory on Douglas Avenue in Jamaica.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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