Global Processing

ConAgra selling $1.9 billion of its cold meat business

February 6, 2006

ConAgra Foods Inc., one of the nation''s largest packaged-foods companies, said that it will sell off its refrigerated meats business which generated approximately $1.9 billion in sales last year. The sale includes 15 plants in nine states and about 6,000 employees of the Omaha-based company. According to the Associated Press, ConAgra plans to part with its Armour, Butterball and Eckrich brands. ConAgra spokesman Chris Kircher said the company expects that most of those 6,000 employees would become employees of the new owner after a sale, which is expected to take 10-12 months to complete. The sale of the refrigerated meat business is one of the first major changes ConAgra''s president and chief executive, Gary Rodkin, has made since joining the company in October. In January, ConAgra announced it was selling Cook''s, a smoked-meat business, to Smithfield Foods Inc. That sale included three plants employing 1,540 people. The company also announced plans Thursday to move its grocery food headquarters from Irvine, Calif., to Naperville, Ill., which is already home to ConAgra''s dairy and meats businesses. That move will be completed by June 1.