Smithfield Foods returns to profit in 4th quarter

By the Associated Press | June 16, 2011 | 6:29 AM EDT

SMITHFIELD, Va. (AP) — Smithfield Foods is back to turning a profit in the fourth quarter, helped by higher pork and live hog prices and strong demand overseas.

The pork processor and hog producer also announced Thursday that its board approved a $150 million share buyback.

Smithfield earned $98.4 million, or 59 cents per share, for the three months ended May 1. That compares with a loss of $4.6 million, or 3 cents per share, a year ago.

Removing a charge tied to early debt retirement, adjusted earnings were 85 cents per share.

A poll by FactSet suggests that analysts had expected earnings of 82 cents per share.

Revenue increased 7 percent to $3.12 billion from $2.91 billion, but that's just shy of Wall Street expectations.

Smithfield Foods Inc. is based in Smithfield, Va.