SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. announced the company bought 7 million shares of its stock owned by Chinese agriculture company COFCO Corp.

The shares were worth $148 million, or $21.12 per share, and were all the shares owned by COFCO, according to Smithfield.

“As the leading consumer of pork, China is an important export market for Smithfield and we will continue to maintain a strong commercial relationship with COFCO going forward,” said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer. “We foresee many future business opportunities for Smithfield and China and our outlook for US pork exports remains positive.”

Smithfield had planned to build a business relationship with COFCO, but the amount of business the companies hoped to have did not materialize, Pope told analysts in 2011.