Smithfield board to review advice from big shareholder

reuters / Smithfield Foods Inc. said March 8 it would review a letter from shareholder Continental Grain Co., which is urging the top U.S. hog producer to consider steps such as splitting into three units and initiating a regular cash dividend.

Shares of Smithfield rose 3.3 per cent to $25.50 in pre-market trading.

Smithfield said it had received the Continental Grain letter but did not discuss the details.

Continental Grain is among Smithfield’s largest shareholders. Collectively, Continental Grain and its affiliates own 8,391,653 shares of Smithfield, or a stake of roughly 6.05 per cent, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Continental Grain sold a number of Smithfield shares in January and this month at an average price of $24.194 per share, the filing showed.

“While we have reduced our position, we continue to hold an important stake and are prepared to maintain a significant holding if we see the board and management taking the necessary steps to unlock the value we believe exists in this company,” Continental Grain said in its letter to the board.



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