SMITHFIELD, Va. ( TheStreet) -- Smithfield Foods ( SFD) swung to a profit in the third quarter as its packaged meats business continued to deliver strong margins. Net income was $37.3 million, or 22 cents a share, up from a year-earlier loss of $105.7 million, or 74 cents a share. Smithfield said third-quarter pork and packaged meats operating margins, excluding certain impairment and restructuring charges, were 7.1% and 10.7%, respectively. Sales in the quarter were $2.88 billion vs. $3.35 billion a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected Smithfield to earn 19 cents a share on sales of $3.28 billion. Smithfield said it anticipates fresh pork margins will improve as hog slaughter levels continue to decline and its Sioux City plant is closed in April. The company said fiscal 2010 should be the "second best year ever" for Smithfield fresh pork exports and it said it is expects the Chinese and Russian markets to be reopened by the end of the fiscal year. -- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.