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Chinese crackers

Jaws dropped around the international pig meat markets with the news that Chinese Shuanghui International planned to acquire the US meat conglomerate, Smithfield Foods.




China’s largest meat processing organisation, Shuanghui International (Shineway), announced plans to acquire the US company, Smithfield Foods, in a deal purported to be worth $7.1 billion.

Smithfield Foods are the largest player in the US pig meat industry and the world’s largest pork processor. The company markets around 16 million pigs per annum and owns around 850,000 sows – over twice the size of the UK breeding herd.

Shuanghui International currently markets over 11 million pigs and has 20 “processing centers” in China, producing over 2.7 million tonnes of meat per annum.

The official press release outlined the rationale for the takeover, which will give Shuanghui better access to US pork to meet the burgeoning demand for pork products within China. The company have given undertakings to maintain the Smithfield Foods business in the US and use the close connections with their new partners to enhance the quality and safety processes within their Chinese operations.

Both parties hope to conclude the deal within the second half of 2013, subject to final approval from shareholders and the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
These developments aroused significant curiosity in the UK press: