Smithfield Foods reports third-quarter profit

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Meat processor Smithfield Foods reported a $37.3 million third-quarter profit Thursday as it improved packaged meat sales and reduced in losses from hog production.

The quarterly profit is up from a $108 million loss in the same period last year.

“The third quarter demonstrated the ongoing strength of our packaged meats business, which continues to deliver very strong margins,” C. Larry Pope, president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are extremely focused on this part of the business, it is paying dividends and the restructuring program is beginning to have an impact.”

Sales fell 12 percent to $2.9 billion, partly due to one less week in this year’s third quarter, compared with the third quarter a year ago.

“Much of the success of the Pork Group restructuring plan is attributable to the benefits received from shuttering underutilized plants,” Pope said. “These plant closures, combined with the rationalization of unprofitable business, have allowed this organization to realize strong bottom line growth.”

The company hopes to improve its profit $55 million in the current fiscal year and $110 million in fiscal year 2011 because of restructuring in its pork segment. The process included the closure of six underutilized plants.

The company’s packaged meat segment had an operating profit of $145.3 million, compared with $115.9 million.
Hog production losses improved as hog market prices grew 12 percent and raising costs fell 16 percent.

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