Smithfield changes its retail focus

One of the largest hog and pork producers in the world is to transform the company focus by specialising more on packaged meat.

US firm Smithfield Foods is to rely less on hogs and lower-margin fresh pork products and more on packaged meats under brands such as Armour, Eckrich and Farmland, the company has announced, in a change to its main focus.

CEO C. Larry Pope said: “We’re on the cusp of changing who this company is and how Wall Street sees Smithfield. We are emerging as a global leader in the packaged-meats business.”

The move by Smithfield is part of a restructuring effort aimed at reducing its hog herd and consolidating or closing existing meat plants.

In June, Smithfield announced its first fiscal-year loss in more than 30 years, largely due to losses on hogs, and last week the company reported a wider first-quarter loss than a year earlier, in part due to lower domestic hog prices.

Pope added: “Our restructuring plan has not yet hit the bottom line, but it is ready. We are looking more like a consumer packaged goods company than we are an agribusiness player.”

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