TAR HEEL, NC (WWAY) -- Shareholders have approved the sale of Smithfield Foods to a Chinese company. The buyout comes amid food safety problems in China, and its impacts could be felt in our area.
As the sale of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International Holdings, the largest meat producer in China, moves forward, Smithfield workers at the world's largest pork processing plant in Bladen County are weighing in.
Smithfield Foods employee Adrian Peterson says he is looking forward to the merger.
"I think it's a good thing, because it's guaranteed no closures in the state of North Carolina," he said.
He says this buyout is just what the doctor ordered.
"That's what we need: some kind of security for us jobwise," Peterson said.
While some employees say they don't mind the merger, one man says he does not like the idea of a Chinese-based company taking over.
"It just bothers me that a company like that that's already in the United States, you know, built by the United States people, that it would end up going to another country, owned by another country," said William Thompson, whose brother has worked at the Smithfield plant in Tar Heel for nearly five years.
Thompson says he's concerned that this merger could cost some in Bladen County their jobs, but employee Christopher Fields says he feels neutral toward the buyout, because he's been told there will be no changes.
"They say it ain't going to be no changes, so hopefully there won't be no feelings, as long as nothing don't change," he said.
Peterson agrees. He says he is not worried about losing his job.
"I'm secure," he said. "Yeah, I'm secure."
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Once complete, it will be the largest takeover of a US company by a Chinese firm, valued at about $7.1 billion, including debt.