US meat processor Smithfield Foods is to close a site in Maryland.

Smithfield said it would shift bone-in ham production from its plant in Landover to sites in North Carolina and Kentucky. The Landover factory will close this autumn. Around 175 staff will be affected.

“We deeply regret having to close this facility because we recognize that layoffs and plant closings are difficult for everyone concerned,” Tim Schellpeper, president of the company’s Smithfield Packing unit, said. “However, the Landover plant is a facility that no longer meets our ever-changing production needs. We will work diligently to transfer as many employees as possible to our other operations.”

Last week, Smithfield faced criticism of its recent performance from a major investor, which called on the company’s board to consider splitting the company in three.

Agribusiness Continental Grain, which owns around 6% of Smithfield, has claimed dividing the company would “unlock significant value” for shareholders. 

Continental Grain said Smithfield could be split into a hog processor, a company supplying fresh pork and packaged meats and a business focused on its operations outside the US.