July 15, 2008


Smithfield pours in US$159 million to expand farm network in Romania



Subsidiary Smithfield Ferme will invest about US$159 million this year in Romania, termed the ''Iowa of Europe'' by the company's chairman Joseph Luter III.


According to Romanian financial newspaper Ziarul Financiar, the money will go into doubling the number of hog production farms the company operates.


The subsidiary currently operates 25 farms, and has 10 more under construction, said Bogdan Mihail, the general manager of Smithfield Ferme.


The investment is part of a US$1 billion plan developed in 2004 when Smithfield first ventured into Romania.


Parent company Smithfield Inc. is the largest hog and pork producer in the US. Last year, an outbreak of swine fever in Romania led to the company having to slaughter about 20,000 pigs.


Recently, economic setbacks forced Smithfield to sell a 5-percent stake to Chinese agricultural company COFCO and a European subsidiary to Spanish meat processing company Campofrio to pay down debt.

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