ConAgra to sell meat business as part of reorganization

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Conagra foods Gary rodkin Meat

ConAgra Foods has announced that it is to sell most of its
refrigerated meats businesses, in a deal worth almost $2 billion,
as it attempts to streamline its operations.

The sale, which is expected to take 10-12 months to complete, includes the company's processed meat product brands Armour, Butterball and Eckrich.

"Our actions today reflect our commitment to simplify operations and to concentrate in areas where we have the strongest competitive positions. They put us in a much better position to execute and drive consistent and sustainable growth,"​ said the company's president and chief executive officer Gary Rodkin on Thursday.

Smithfield Foods recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the assets of the company's Cook's ham business. ConAgra Foods, a leading US packaged food company, said neither its Healthy Choice brand of meat, nor its Hebrew National, Brown 'N Serve, Slim Jim, and Pemmican businesses are included in the assets for sale.

In addition to the sale of its meat businesses, the company also announced several changes within its existing businesses.

"ConAgra Foods has a number of great brands and businesses to drive future growth. We will build on those strengths by coupling disciplined investments in well-positioned brands with a more streamlined operating structure,"​ said Rodkin.

These changes include moving the company's grocery foods headquarters from Irvine, California, to Naperville, Illinois, which is currently the headquarters of it dairy and meats business.

The company also plans to combine its retail and culinary products businesses to form Consumer Foods. It will manage all consumer brands and foods that are sold by ConAgra Foods to retail and foodservice customers, as well as manage the company's international consumer foods business.

ConAgra also said it will further centralize its shared services, with its sales organization assuming responsibility for both retail and foodservice customers, and current personnel in culinary foodservice sales joining the company's centralized selling organization.

Additionally, a number of people with shared functions across the company will be relocated to Omaha, Nebraska, to "drive increased collaboration, functional excellence and efficiency."

ConAgra said it expects these organizational changes to result in cash and non-cash accounting charges, but added that these are still being estimated, and are due to be announced at a later date.

An estimate for the financial impact of the sale of the packaged meat businesses, which have combined annual sales of around $1.9 billion, is also underway, due to be announced as part of ConAgra's March 16 investor and analyst event in New York.

Within the last decade, ConAgra has been transformed from 90 independent operating companies into three focused business segments serving customers in retail, foodservices and ingredients.

The company has divested commodity-based businesses, including fresh beef, pork and chicken, canned seafood, cheese and agricultural inputs to concentrate instead on marketing, operational efficiency and business consolidation with the aim of improving customer service and increasing margins.

But although the company has seen rapid growth, it has also recently experienced staff cuts and a decline in profits.

In September the company appointed a new president and CEO, Gary Rodkin, who was formerly in charge of PepsiCo Beverages and Foods North America.

"We're clearly going to take a look at our portfolio and see which things we should really get behind,"​ he had said at the time.

"A lot has been accomplished in recent years to shape the company's portfolio and strengthen its business model. With that foundation, we will focus on sustainable profit growth through well-defined strategic focus and operational excellence,"​ he had added.

Related topics Suppliers

Related news

Show more

Follow us


View more