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Continental Grain Calls for Shake up at Smithfield Foods

26 April 2013

US - One of the major shareholders in the US pig processing Giant Smithfield Foods, Continental Grain, is calling on the company to split and ad experienced directors to improve returns for shareholders.

Continental Grain has filed a presentation highlighting the long history of underperformance at Smithfield and the steps it is recommending to unlock value and improve shareholder returns.

The presentation was filed as an exhibit to Continental Grain’s Schedule 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Drawing from its long history in agribusiness, Continental Grain’s presentation details an action plan designed to create substantial value for Smithfield shareholders.

Key elements include:

  • Splitting Smithfield into three independent companies by divesting underperforming/highly volatile Hog Production and select European assets
  • Reinvesting the proceeds from asset sales in additional share repurchases
  • Instituting an annual dividend with a payout ratio in line with peers
  • Restructuring Packaged Meats to achieve profitability levels in line with peers
  • Immediately adding three new directors whose background and experience properly reflect the current business, and continuing to renew/strengthen the board each year
  • Improving management depth at key business units
  • Creating greater alignment of management compensation to shareholder returns

Continental Grain said that successful execution of this plan would result in a Smithfield stock price of $40 within three years.

Continental Grain added that it considers Smithfield’s April 1, 2013 investor presentation, made in response to its March 7 letter to the Board, to be inadequate and a continuation of an unacceptable status quo.

Established in 1813, privately held Continental Grain Company is one of the oldest food and agribusiness companies in the world. It has been one of Smithfield’s largest shareholders since 2006.

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