The goal of Meat&Poultry’s annual listing is to provide an overview of the meat and poultry processing industry’s leading companies in North America based on annual sales and to include any changes resulting from mergers, acquisitions or closures. Companies on this year’s Top 100 ranking range from just over $34.4 billion in annual sales (Tyson Foods Inc.) down to $193 million in sales.
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The top 10 spots in the 2014 ranking were occupied by the same 10 companies as 2013, with nine of them staying in the same ranking positions. Hormel Foods Corp. and ConAgra Foods Inc. – Consumer Foods Segment switched positions from 2013 to 2014 with Hormel now taking the No. 6 spot with $8.8 billion in sales (up from the reported $8.2 billion in sales the previous year); and ConAgra moving to No. 7 with $8.2 billion in sales.
The biggest news for the meat industry in the past year was undoubtedly the purchase of Smithfield Foods by China’s Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. last September. After months of negotiations, Shuanghui acquired Smithfield for approximately $7.1 billion, including assumption of debt. Under the terms of the agreement, Shuanghui acquired all of Smithfield’s outstanding shares for $34 per share in cash.
C. Larry Pope, president and CEO of Smithfield, expressed positive sentiments about the sale: “This is a great transaction for all Smithfield stakeholders, as well as for American farmers and US agriculture. The partnership is all about growth, and about doing more business at home and abroad. It will remain business as usual – only better – at Smithfield, and we look forward to embarking on this new chapter.”
Smithfield maintains its No. 4 ranking with $13.09 billion in sales. The true impact of the acquisition may not be reflected until the next fiscal year after debts and fees have been paid and adjustments are made to production practices.
The impact of another meat-industry acquisition – the recent purchase of chicken processor GNP Company, based in St. Cloud, Minn., by The Maschhoffs – also may not be yet apparent. Carlyle, Ill.-based The Maschoffs is regarded as the largest family owned pork operation and the fourth-largest pork production company in the US. The decision to diversify into the poultry arena was spearheaded by Jason Logsdon, CEO of The Maschhoffs.
GNP Company finds itself in the 64th spot in the ranking with $400 million in sales. The Maschhoffs’ sales in calendar year 2013 were $825 million. GNP Company’s chicken business and The Maschhoffs’ pork production operation will operate as separate business units.
One notable drop in rank from 2013 was BPI Technology Inc./Beef Products Inc. In 2013, BPI fell to the No. 63 position ($400 million) from the No. 27 spot ($1.1 billion) in 2012 following the 2012 ‘Pink Slime’ debacle. BPI, previously a leading supplier of lean, finely textured beef, did not make the Top 100 list this year because its sales dropped to $100 million.
Editor’s Note: The task of researching and collecting the facts and figures that go into Meat&Poultry’s annual Top 100 ranking is spearheaded by Dana Holt, manager of directories with Sosland Publishing Co. along with Mindy Meyer, information services coordinator. Their attention to detail and tireless efforts to make the Top 100 as accurate as possible is a valuable service to our readers and is appreciated by the editorial team.