Rivers resigns as Pilgrim's CEO, Jackson to take position

PITTSBURG, Texas – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. announced late Tuesday that Clint Rivers, president and chief executive of the company, has resigned.

Don Jackson has been named as the new president and CEO, subject to approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Pilgrim’s Pride filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month. Rivers resigned as part of the company’s reorganization. Lonnie Ken Pilgrim, board chairman, will serve as interim president until the court’s approval.

Jackson will also assume the duties of chief operating officer Robert A. Wright, who also resigned as part of the reorganization.

"As Pilgrim's Pride begins the reorganization process, we believe the company and its stakeholders would be best served by a fresh perspective on the opportunities available to us through restructuring," said Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim, senior chairman of Pilgrim's Pride. "Don Jackson is a proven leader with the essential skills and industry insight to position Pilgrim's Pride to emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger, more efficient, and more focused company."

Pilgrim thanked both Rivers and Wright for their contributions to the company.

Jackson comes to Pilgrim’s Pride from Foster Farms’ poultry division, where he served as president. He has also served in poultry production at ConAgra and Seaboard Farms.


Source: Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

Obama to pick Vilsack for Ag Secretary

CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama will reportedly nominate former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as U.S. Agriculture Secretary on Wednesday.

Vilsack also ran for the White House, dropping out in February 2007 and backing U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton.

Obama is also expected to announce U.S. Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado for U.S. Interior Secretary, media reports said.

Salazar is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and has reportedly developed a reputation as a strong advocate of reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil. Vilsack has campaigned for the development of ethanol as an alternative energy source in Iowa.


Source: CNN.com

Tyson finalizes new lender agreement

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Tyson Foods Inc. has reportedly signed a new agreement with creditors that puts much of the company up as collateral.

The company was reported to have filed regulatory documents on Wednesday that revealed the new terms of the company’s five-year revolving credit agreement.

The filing reportedly said that Tyson and its subsidiaries "pledge substantially all of their assets to secure performance of the company's obligations under the credit agreement." The filing notes that prior to the amendment to the pact, only some of its assets were used as collateral.

Reports said that Tyson’s credit rating was recently downgraded because of concerns of losses with Tyson’s chicken business. Many poultry producers have struggled to remain profitable after higher production costs and lower demand for poultry products this year.


Source: Associated Press

Cargill buys assets of Carneco

WICHITA, Kan. – Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. announced Tuesday that it had purchased assets of Carneco Foods LLC.

The purchase includes a ground beef processing plant in Columbus, Neb. and 80 acres of land. The purchase will be finalized Jan. 2 and was done through the Cargill Value Added Meats foodservice unit.

The company said it had bought the beef facility to replace a plant in Booneville, Ark. that was destroyed in a fire earlier this year. Cargill said that because of the design of the Carneco Foods plant and its product mix matches the capabilities of the Booneville facility, Cargill decided to pursue the acquisition. The plant produces frozen ground beef patties and chubs, and case ready beef products sold to food service and retail operators.

“This transaction is consistent with our strategy to deliver distinctive products that help our customers succeed,” said John O’Carroll, president of the foodservice unit. “We look forward to a smooth transition as we build and foster relationships with employees, the surrounding community, customers and suppliers.”


Source: Cargill

Campforio, Groupe Smithfield complete merger

SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. announced Wednesday that it has completed the merger of Campofrio Alimentacion SA and Group Smithfield Holdings SL.

The merger creates the largest packaged meats companies in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Stock for the new company, Campofrio Food Group, will be sold on the Madrid and Barcelona stock markets.

Smithfield Foods reportedly owns 37 percent of the new company. Previously Smithfield owned 24 percent of Campofrio and 50 percent of Groupe Smithfield. Other significant shareholders are Oaktree Capital, Pedro and Fernando Ballve, Diaz Family and Luis Serrano, Caja Burgos and QMC. The remaining 16 percent will be held by the public.

"This is a major step in Smithfield's strategy to grow and improve its global packaged meats presence. The companies have complimentary manufacturing and marketing platforms, presenting the opportunity for value creation and synergies," said C. Larry Pope, Smithfield president and chief executive officer. "The merger produces the leading player in the European packaged meats market, with leading brands in every market in which we operate."


Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.