Business and the Economy
China buys Food Processor with Kentucky Ties
Smithfield Foods is being sold to China’ largest pork producer. Saying it’s a great day for American farmers, Smithfield Foods President and CEO Larry Pope has announced his company is being sold to Shuanghui International Holdings Limited, China’s largest meat processing enterprise and largest meat trading company. It’s believed to be the largest takeover of an American company by a Chinese one. The purchase price is $4.7 billion.
“This gives them access to the world’s largest market that has been difficult at times to access. We’re going with the best player in that part of Asia who can make sure our products have access. And these guys are the best-and the biggest.”
He says the Chinese will get safe pork at a cheaper price than can be produced in that country.
Pope says the sale was due in part because he’s been frustrated with Wall Street’s valuation of the company for a long time and was looking for other options. He wanted to do what was best for the shareholders.
“It does bring us greater access to the Chinese market. It does that-not just China, but Asia in general.”
Pope says the headquarters will remain in Smithfield, VA and the 46,000 workers will remain employed. He says Smithfield will just be an American company owned by a Chinese parent. The deal is expected to be completed later this year.
The company operates facilities in Grayson and Middlesboro, Kentucky.