Smithfield Foods yesterday (3 April) announced that it has completed the acquisition of Cook's ham from ConAgra for approximately US$260m.

Cook's produces spiral sliced and traditional smoked hams, corned beef and other smoked meats sold to supermarket chains and independent stores throughout the US and Canada. Cook's annual sales amount to around $330m.

"Cook's fits perfectly into our strategy of growing our higher-value processed meats products and utilising our raw materials internally," said C. Larry Pope, Smithfield president and chief operating officer. "This is a significant step in our goal of utilising internally all of the hams from the hogs that we process."

The sale of ConAgra's ham business comes hot on the heels of the company's exit from the seafood business. ConAgra said that it received more than $440m in cash from the sale of both its ham and seafood businesses.

These transactions, ConAgra said, reflect the company's plan to drive consistent and sustainable growth by focusing in those areas where the company has the strongest competitive position.