US pig and pork producer Smithfield Foods forecast fiscal fourth-quarter earnings below expectations due to higher production costs for swine and also losses in cattle feeding.
Smithfield and other meat companies have been hurt this year by high prices for maize, an important feed.
During the fourth quarter, Smithfield had strong earnings in the pork segment and improved packaged meats margins. International operations showed more profitability compared with a loss last year.
14 Million head
Virginia-based Smithfield, the largest US hog producer, markets about 14 million head a year, and is co-owner of the nation’s largest cattle feeding operation.
It also the largest US pork processor, processing about 27 million pigs annually, and is the fifth largest US beef processor.
Earlier this month, it completed the acquisition of smaller rival Premium Standard Farms.
Smithfield will report its fourth-quarter results June 7.
â€¢ Smithfield Foods
â€¢ Premium Standard Farms
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