Bloomberg News

Smithfield May Seek Packaged-Meat Deals After Campofrio Food

June 16, 2011

(Updates with closing share price in fifth paragraph.)

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest pork processor, may seek acquisitions in the packaged- meats industry after canceling plans to buy the remaining shares of Spain’s Campofrio Food Group SA this month.

“We would be interested and routinely look at potential opportunities to do something particularly on the packaged-meats side,” C. Larry Pope, Smithfield’s chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview today.

Smithfield said today it will spend as much as $150 million buying back shares over 24 months. That shows the Smithfield, Virginia-based company isn’t interested in issuing equity to fund any potential acquisitions at the current share price level, Pope said.

“We would look at something if it made sense,” Pope said. “The fact that we backed away from Campofrio, that has a lot of potential, should give you comfort we are not going to do something silly.”

Shares of Smithfield rose $1.31, or 6.4 percent, to $21.70 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The company said earlier today fiscal fourth-quarter profit was 85 cents a share on an adjusted basis. The average of 12 analysts’ estimated compiled by Bloomberg was for earnings of 82 cents.

Smithfield, which has a 37 percent stake in Campofrio, said in a June 2 letter to the Spanish company that it dropped talks to purchase the remaining shares due to “adverse” economic conditions in Europe and the recent decline in its stock price.

--Editors: Simon Casey, James Callan

To contact the reporter on this story: Shruti Singh in Chicago at ssingh28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net


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