Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
May 30, 2005
by WLJ

Swift names new CEO
Swift & Company announced it has named Sam Rovit as its chief executive officer and a member of its board of directors. Rovit has been with leading strategy consultants Bain & Company since 1988, and was named to that firm’s partnership group in 1995. Rovit is co-author of Mastering the Merger, published this winter by Harvard Business School Press, as well as numerous articles in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Strategy & Leadership, Acquisitions Monthly and The European Business Journal. Rovit replaces John Simons, who left Swift & Company in early April.

Feedlot venture completed
ContiGroup Companies Inc. and Smithfield Foods on announced the completion of an arrangement that would combine the two companies’ 10 feedlots into one joint venture. The new venture is called Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding LLC, and will consist of feedlots from Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas with a total one-time feeding capacity of just over 810,000 head. The joint venture combines the six original ContiBeef feedlots with four feedlots owned by MF Cattle Feeding, Inc., an offshoot company of Smithfield.

Aussies report Q1 export record
Australia's beef exports jumped in the first quarter of 2005 to record levels for the first three months of the year. The value of beef exports rose to $758 million (A$1.03 billion), a first-quarter record, up 19 percent over a year ago and 12 percent above the record set in 2001. More than half of all exports went to Japan, which imported about A$570 million worth of Australian beef, up 20 percent on a year ago. The value of Australian beef exports to the U.S. rose 11 percent to A$223 million, reflecting high domestic beef prices in the U.S. due to tight cattle supplies.

Shorthorn branded-beef program
The American Shorthorn Association recently unveiled the first-ever, breed-association-sponsored, natural, source-verified, direct-marketing, branded-beef effort, called Durham Natural Gold Beef. Specifications require that calves entering the program be 50 percent Shorthorn genetics and 25 percent Continental genetics. Additionally, they must never be administered or fed any hormonal supplements or antibiotics, and be less than 20 months of age at time of slaughter. For more information visit www.shorthorn.org.

Philippines opens to Canadian beef
The Philippine government lifted its ban on imports of beef meat from Canada based on measures taken by the Canadian government to contain BSE. Under new rules government imports from Canada, only deboned and deglanded meat from cattle under 30 months of age will be allowed to enter the Philippines. The meat cannot contain nerves and other BSE specified risk materials and must be derived solely from “healthy ambulatory and not downer cattle." The age of the cattle will be certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or a third party certification company accredited by the Philippine Department of Agriculture.

Buckhead acquires Royalty Foods
SYSCO subsidiary Buckhead Beef, Atlanta, GA, last week signed a preliminary agreement to acquire Orlando-based Royalty Foods, a Southeast distributor and supplier to restaurants of Certified Angus Beef. Royalty had 2004 sales of approximately $75 million. Robert G. Meeks, who co-founded Royalty in 1983, will remain as president and CEO. SYSCO officials said Royalty’s business fits well with Buckhead’s existing Certified Angus Beef business.

Cargill to expand in Brazil
Cargill Inc. may double investment at its Brazilian meat processing unit in the next two years to expand capacity of existing plants to meet rising demand in Brazil and abroad. Cargill's Seara Alimentos SA, Brazil's third biggest meat processor, plans to invest between $50 million and $100 million in the next two years to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, said Sergio Rial, president of the unit. The company forecasts revenue will rise 10 percent this year to $800 million, of which 70 percent will be exports.


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