SMITHFIELD, Va. – The Smithfield Packing Company Inc. subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc. plans to shift production from its Portsmouth, Va., hot dog and lunchmeat plant to Kinston, NC, and close its Portsmouth facility in early 2013. Approximately 425 hourly and salaried employees will be affected by this move.

Smithfield determined its Portsmouth facility, which was built in the 1970s, cannot support the changes in manufacturing technology and product development necessary to meet its needs. Transfers to other facilities will be offered to some employees and the company said it will negotiate with union officials regarding potential opportunities related to this transition.

"We deeply regret having to close this facility,” said Tim Schellpeper, president of Smithfield Packing. “We recognize that layoffs and plant closings are difficult for everyone concerned. But at the same time, we believe this is a necessary business decision. We are committed to our workforce and will work diligently to transfer as many employees as possible to our other operations in North Carolina and Virginia."

"While this was a difficult decision, this change will improve the overall efficiency of our company and enable us to continue to provide our customers with the highest quality products," Schellpeper said.