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Smithfield Bosses to Pocket $85.4 Million From Chinese Deal

May 31, 2013

(Updates with share price in fifth paragraph.)


May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Smithfield Foods Inc. executives, who run one of the worst-performing large U.S. food makers over the past five years, are set to reap at least $85.4 million from its sale to China’s Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.

The company has been under pressure from its biggest shareholder for lagging behind competitors Hormel Foods Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc. Continental Grain Co., which has a 6.8 percent stake, said in March that Smithfield should appoint new managers and break itself into three businesses as rising animal-feed costs made its hog-production unit unprofitable.

The total payout is based on the stock and share options held by Smithfield’s five top executives, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Among the managers, Chief Executive Officer C. Larry Pope owns stock valued at $25.4 million based on the $34-per-share offer price, according a May 17 filing.

Pope would also get $11 million for his share options, according to Smithfield’s most recent proxy filing in August, which based its calculation on control of the company changing on April 29, 2012. The stock on that date was 38 percent less than the price that China’s biggest pork producer agreed to pay this week. The other four executives also stand to get paid out on their options.

Keira Lombardo, a Smithfield spokeswoman, declined to comment on the payouts. Smithfield rose 0.4 percent to $32.87 at 9:42 a.m. in New York.


No Dividends


The Smithfield senior managers, among the best-paid in their industry, will stay on after the takeover, the company said March 29 when it announced the takeover.

That’s despite Smithfield posting a negative return of 18 percent in the five years through March 28, the second-worst performance of any U.S. food company with annual sales of $10 billion or more, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Grain trader Bunge Ltd. was the worst in the period.

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