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Shuanghui-Smithfield hearing set

(Global Times)

09:54, July 11, 2013

The US Senate Agriculture Committee was set to hold a hearing on Shuanghui's acquisition of Smithfield Foods on Wednesday at 2 pm Eastern Standard Time, Chinese news portal reported Wednesday.

The report said the Committee will assess the impact of the deal on the US food supply and intellectual property rights.

Shuanghui International Holdings, China's largest meat processor by output, said on May 29 that it had acquired US-based Smithfield Foods Inc for around $7.1 billion, including $2.4 billion of Smithfield's debt.

However, before the hearing, a coalition of US small farmers, consumers and environmentalists called for a halt to the deal in a joint letter sent to US regulators, Hong Kong-based stock information portal ­ reported Wednesday.

The letter suggested that although the deal would boost US pork exports, pork produced by Shuanghui would also be exported to the US, thanks to Smithfield's advanced freezing technology, which might help Shuanghui reverse its export trends for pork, the report said.

Smithfield CEO Larry Pope will reportedly testify at the hearing to respond to US food safety and security concerns.

Meanwhile, land issues in Missouri are also adding uncertainty to the acquisition. According to Missouri law, foreign entities cannot buy or own agricultural land, and Smithfield currently owns large amounts of farmland in Missouri.

Shuanghui's net profit rose 116 percent year-on-year to $470 million in 2012, while Smithfield saw a 30.71 percent drop to $361 million.

The deal, media reports said, would set a new record — the largest acquisition of a US company by a Chinese State-owned enterprise.

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