Smithfield Foods’ Pork Business May Gain Chinese Flavor (YahooFinance)
Smithfield Foods is the largest U.S.-owned hog producer and pork processor but it soon may become merely the largest U.S. asset held by the world’s largest meat processing holding company, China’s Henan Shuanghui. If the transaction is approved by shareholders, the $4.7-billion acquisition would be the largest takeover of an American company by a Chinese entity. And with a 31 percent premium awaiting investors, there’s no real reason for shareholders to block the deal. Once completed, the deal should enable China to import Western standards for food preparation and delivery. And investors will eat that up with spoons, as well as chopsticks.
Canada’s Largest Bank also Booking Large Profits (Reuters)
The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced that its third quarter profit rose 26 percent compared to the previous year’s totals. Canada’s largest bank had earnings of C$1.53 billion, or 99 cents Canadian per share. These earnings also included a C$202 million after-tax, write-off for the acquisition of the 50 percent of RBC Dexia that RBC didn’t already own. Excluding a one-time restructuring charge, earnings matched analysts’ estimates for the quarter. Profits were led by a 12.1 percent increase in personal and commercial banking. Financial investors would do well to keep an eye on RBC throughout the rest of 2013.
Berkshire’s Abel to Grow Energy Holdings (BusinessWeek)
Berkshire Hathaway-owned MidAmerican Energy Holdings, Co. has just struck a deal to buy NY Energy, Inc. (NVE) for $5.6 billion. The deal was led by Greg Abel, Warren Buffett’s hand-picked manager for his energy concern. Under Abel’s direction, MidAmerica will purchase NY Energy for $23.75 a share, which represents a premium of 23 percent. With this acquisition, MidAmerica becomes the largest U.S. utility owner by number of accounts. After the deal is complete, MidAmerican will have nearly $66 billion in assets and 8.4-million customer accounts. That’s a lot of power for Berkshire and Buffett.