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What Now For John Morrell Hog Plant?What Now For John Morrell Hog Plant?

Too early to tell if Smithfield sale to Chinese company will be good or bad for South Dakota wine industry.

June 3, 2013

2 Min Read

Glenn Muller, executive director of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, says a lot of good things could come from Smithfield Foods being bought by China's largest pork processor, Shuanghui International Holdings Limited.

Pork exports to China could increase, he says.

But there is also a risk.


Smithfield operates the former John Morrell packing plant in Sioux Falls. Smithfield closed some of its plants in the U.S., but decided to keep the Sioux Falls plants open. The new owners may take another look at the plants across the U.S. They might or might not come to the same decision as Smithfield. They could decide to modernize the aging plant, too, which would be good news for the region's hog producers..

"It's just too early to tell," Muller says.

Larry Pope, Smithfield president and CEO, said in statement announcing the sale that, "We do not anticipate any changes in how we do business operationally in the United States and throughout the world…We look forward to accelerating a global expansion strategy as part of Shuanghui."

Shuanghui chairman Wan Long was equally enthusiastic.

"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Smithfield, which represents a historic opportunity for both companies and their stakeholders," he said in a statement released by the company. "Shuanghui is a leading pork producer in China and a pioneer in the Chinese meat processing industry with over 30 years of history. Smithfield is a leader in our industry and together we will be able to meet the growing demand in China for pork by importing high-quality meat products from the United States, while continuing to serve markets in the United States and around the world. The combination creates a company with an unmatched set of assets, products and geographic reach."

Wan continued, "The acquisition provides Smithfield the opportunity to expand its offering of products to China through Shuanghui's distribution network. Shuanghui will gain access to high-quality, competitively-priced and safe U.S. products, as well as Smithfield's best practices and operational expertise. We were especially attracted to Smithfield for its strong management team, leading brands and vertically integrated model. We look forward to working with Larry Pope and the many talented employees at Smithfield to grow the combined company as a leading global pork and processed meat producer with the same vision and values of providing high-quality and safe products to consumers."

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