Twinkies-maker Hostess Brands to close down

Image caption Twinkies, a sponge cake with a cream filling, is an iconic product in the US

The maker of Twinkies, the cream-filled sponge cakes well-loved in the US, has said it will close down the company, leading to the loss of 18,500 jobs.

Hostess Brands said a strike by the bakers union would force it to shut all operations and sell all assets.

It has long been in trouble - emerging from bankruptcy protection in 2009 only to file again in January 2012.

The wind-down also means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centres and 570 bakery outlet stores.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said chief executive Gregory Rayburn.

"Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

The company is also behind the Wonder and Merita bread brands, as well as Drake's cakes.

Last week, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on a nationwide strike.

On Thursday, Hostess Brands said it determined that an "insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations".

Hostess Brands was founded in 1930 and had revenues of $2bn last year.

The union's pension fund is its biggest unsecured creditor, and is owed about $944.2m.

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