Smithfield to Close North Carolina Pork Plant Due to Downturn

Smithfield Foods Inc. will close a North Carolina pork plant.

(Bloomberg) — Smithfield Foods Inc. will close a North Carolina pork plant.

Production at the company’s Charlotte pork-processing plant will be moved to its facility in Tar Heel to “increase efficiency and better utilize existing capacity,” Smithfield said in a statement. It didn’t share financial details of the closure, which will take place in December.

In its latest earnings statement, WH Group Ltd., the Hong Kong-based pork producer that owns Smithfield, said “abundant supplies and soft demand” have been weighing on US pork prices. 

Meat producers across the globe have been hit by an unusual confluence of setbacks across all major proteins, with profits plummeting from lofty levels in 2021 and 2022. Tyson Foods Inc., the largest US meat supplier by market value, has announced the shutdown of six chicken plants this year and cut an unspecified number of jobs at a North Carolina poultry site as part of efforts to rebalance supplies. 

Smithfield employs nearly 40,000 people in the US and more than 10,000 in North Carolina. The company, which will transfer some of the 107 workers affected by the closure to other locations, said it will provide incentives for hourly employees to remain in Charlotte until the final day of production.

(Corrects to remove language in first paragraph stating the decision was part of an industry-wide effort to counter a supply glut)

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