Smithfields Foods, the US pork processor, said on Monday that it expected to announce profits more than doubled in the third quarter of fiscal 2005.

The company predicted earnings in the range of US$0.86 to $0.87 per diluted share for the quarter which ended in January, compared with $0.38 in the same period a year earlier.

The company said that the sharp increase in earnings was the result of the vertical integration strategy the company embarked upon a decade ago. Smithfield Foods has annual sales of US$10 billion, making it the leading processor and marketer of fresh pork and processed meats in the United States, as well as the largest producer of hogs.

Smithfield will announce its third quarter earnings on 1 March.