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What are some interesting facts about the Smithfield Packing Company?

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Quick Answer

The Smithfield Packing Company is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc. and distributes meat products such as ham, ground and smoked pork, bacon and lunchmeat to retail stores and international markets. The initial purpose of the company was to produce Smithfield ham.

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Full Answer

Joseph W. Luter and his son Joseph W. Luter, Jr., started the company in 1936 in Smithfield, Virginia. Joseph W. Luter worked at a local meat packing plant before starting the company. His son persuaded him to start their own business, which became the Smithfield Packing Company. Joseph W. Luter's son served as the company's chief executive officer until his death in 1962.

In 1966, Joseph W. Luter III became the new director and expanded the company from a family business to an investor-owned company. Liberty Equities took over the company in 1969 and hired Luter III again in 1975 when it found itself in financial difficulties.

In 1981, the company purchased its main competitor, Gwaltney of Smithfield, and followed this by acquiring almost 40 other companies in the beef, pork and livestock industries between 1981 and 2008. In 1992, the company opened the then world's largest processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina.

In May 2013, Shuanghui International, one of the largest meat producers in China, purchased the Smithfield Packing Company in a deal that cost approximately $7.1 billion. The company's guiding principles include responsible operations, transparency and innovation.

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