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China's WH Group Processes Chicken to Offset Competition


Global Ag Media

The pork processing giant processed 30% more poultry last year

Chinese pork processing giant WH Group Ltd processed 30% more poultry last year, citing the company on Tuesday, as it diversifies into other meats to lower costs and become more competitive.

WH Group, which owns US-based Smithfield Foods and also has operations in Europe, reported a 34.3% rise in annual profit to $1.4 billion, largely thanks to a pretax gain of $414 million from the sale of spices company Saratoga Specialty Foods.

Taking out the sale, profit before biological fair value adjustments was flat compared with a 2021 profit of $1.04 billion. Revenue grew 3.1% to $28.14 billion, thanks to significantly higher sales volumes of packaged meats in Europe from newly acquired operations and higher prices in both the US and Europe to offset increasing costs.

In China, however, sales volumes were hit by COVID prevention measures. Competition in pork processing is growing in China, however the company said in a presentation, with more hog producers building slaughterhouses to integrate operations.

Growth of the poultry business is key to its diversification, the company said in a statement, addding it processed 240 million chickens, geese and turkeys in Europe and China last year, up 30% from 2021.