Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Report

said Thursday that it has acquired Clougherty Packing for $186 million.

The Austin, Minn.-based food giant said the acquisition of theprivately-held Southern California pork processor will strengthen its presence in the Southwest and is "a great strategic fit."

Hormel said Clougherty, which expects sales of $420 million in 2004, would be immediately accretive to earnings.

Clougherty is best known for its Farmer John brand of products.

Hormel shares rose 17 cents, or 0.5%, to $30.30.