Smithfield Foods said its move to become a company focusing more on “value-added” packaged meats is working after the US company reported “strong” third-quarter results.

The group booked net income of US$81.5m for the three months to 27 January. Operating profit fell 20.1% to $136.3m as losses from Smithfield’s hog business widened.

However, Smithfield’s bottom line benefited from a lower-than-expected tax rate. It was also quick to point to higher sales and earnings from its packaged meats business.

Operating profit from packaged meats was up 7% at $125.9m in the quarter on the back of a 4% increase in sales to $1.76bn. Packaged meats volumes rose 5%. Turnover increased 3% to $3.58bn.

President and CEO Larry Pope said: “We are excited about the growth prospects for this company as we continue to transform Smithfield into a more value-added consumer packaged meats company. We expect solid earnings in fiscal 2013 and look forward to even stronger results next year.”