SMITHFIELD, Va., Feb. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD) today announced that it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to form a 50/50 joint venture with Kansas City Sausage Company, LLC, including its sister company, Pine Ridge Farms, LLC. The transaction will be funded with cash on hand and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Terms of the letter of intent were not disclosed. Smithfield expects the transaction to be immediately accretive to earnings. "With our strong ongoing focus on building our packaged meats business, and with 15% of the United States sow population, this joint venture is a logical fit for Smithfield. It will provide a growth platform in two key packaged meats categories – breakfast sausage and dinner sausage – and will allow us to expand our product offerings to our customers. These categories represent over $4 billion in retail and foodservice sales annually. This is a big opportunity for Smithfield to grow in two categories that have not historically been a focus for the company," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield. "Kansas City Sausage is one of our largest live sow customers today. This joint venture will enable us to move raw material up the value chain from commodity live sows to branded packaged meats. We will merge Kansas City Sausage's low-cost, efficient operations and high-quality products with Smithfield's strong brands and sales and marketing team to continue to grow our packaged meats business. This combination should allow us to fill existing plant capacity and dramatically increase the joint venture's sales in a relatively short period of time," he continued. With sales of approximately $200 million, Kansas City Sausage is a leading U.S. sausage producer and sow processor. The company has operations in Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri. In Des Moines, the company produces premium raw materials for sausage, as well as value-added products, including boneless hams and hides. The Kansas City plant is the newest and most modern sausage processing facility in the U.S. and is designed for optimum efficiency to provide retail and foodservice customers with the highest-quality products.
John Stadler, founder and chairman of Kansas City Sausage, commented that, "We are excited to partner with the largest packaged pork company in the U.S. to grow our business by joining our state of the art operations and expertise in sow processing with Smithfield's portfolio of leading consumer brands and sales and marketing capabilities. We believe that this joint venture will create significant value for both Kansas City Sausage and Smithfield."About Smithfield Foods Smithfield Foods is a $13 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield ®, Eckrich ®, Farmland ®, Armour ®, Cook's ®, Gwaltney ®, John Morrell ®, Kretschmar ®, Curly's ®, Carando ®, Margherita ®, and Healthy Ones ®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com and www.smithfieldcommitments.com . The Smithfield Foods, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7622 This press release contains "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. The forward-looking statements include statements concerning our outlook for the future, as well as other statements of beliefs, future plans and strategies or anticipated events, and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. Our forward-looking information and statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These risks and uncertainties include the availability and prices of live hogs, feed ingredients (including corn), raw materials, fuel and supplies, food safety, livestock disease, live hog production costs, product pricing, the competitive environment and related market conditions, risks associated with our indebtedness, including cost increases due to rising interest rates or changes in debt ratings or outlook, hedging risk, adverse weather conditions, operating efficiencies, changes in foreign currency exchange rates, access to capital, the cost of compliance with and changes to regulations and laws, including changes in accounting standards, tax laws, environmental laws, agricultural laws and occupational, health and safety laws, adverse results from on-going litigation, actions of domestic and foreign governments, labor relations issues, credit exposure to large customers, the ability to make effective acquisitions and successfully integrate newly acquired businesses into existing operations, our ability to effectively restructure portions of our operations and achieve cost savings from such restructurings and other risks and uncertainties described under "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended April 29, 2012. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements because actual results may differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the statements. Any forward-looking statement that we make speaks only as of the date of such statement, and we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Comparisons of results for current and any prior periods are not intended to express any future trends or indications of future performance, unless expressed as such, and should only be viewed as historical data.
CONTACT: Keira Lombardo Smithfield Foods, Inc. (757) 365-3050 firstname.lastname@example.org