SMITHFIELD, Va. – A share repurchase program authorizing Smithfield Foods Inc. to buy up to $150 million of its common stock over the next 24 months has been approved by the company’s board of directors. Smithfield intends to fund share repurchases from cash on hand.

"Smithfield's top priority is to maximize value growth for our shareholders,” said C. Larry Pope, president and CEO. “Over the past year, we utilized cash to repurchase nearly $1 billion in debt to build a fortress balance sheet. Having achieved that goal, and considering our strong liquidity position, we believe that share repurchases are an appropriate use of cash at this time. This action not only reflects our continued confidence in the fundamental strength of our business and our desire to return capital to shareholders, but also the belief that our stock is significantly undervalued in the marketplace."

This new authorization replaces a previous share repurchase program. Share repurchases can be made on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions. The number of shares repurchased, and the timing of any buybacks, will depend on corporate cash balances, business and economic conditions, and other factors, including investment opportunities. The program may be discontinued at any time.