US pork producer Smithfield Foods has announced it is to merge two of its major pork processing plants, resulting in the loss of a “minimal” number of jobs as the company tried to cut costs.

Smithfield will merge its Smithfield Packing CO and Gwaltney of Smithfield businesses into one unit, which will have annual sales of more than US$2.5bn, reported Reuters.

The company also announced that Lewis R Little, president of the Smithfield Packing unit, will retire, effective 5 September. The new merged unit will be run by Timothy Seely, who is currently president of Gwaltney.