Swift & Company

Processor of fresh beef and pork products  

At the time of the investment, Swift & Company was one of the world’s largest processors of fresh beef and pork products with a collection of plants throughout the U.S. The Company produces fresh meat products under the Swift Brand in addition to private label for retailers and was also a large exporter to customers in Asia and Europe.

The Value Creation Opportunity

With Swift, the Kainos Partners saw an opportunity to partner with a leading global protein provider that was orphaned under its corporate parent, ConAgra Foods.  The non-core business had a balanced protein portfolio and was poised for continued growth, but it lacked a partner to supply the capital to execute on operational improvement initiatives and sales optimization. The demand for processed meats continued to grow, and the Kainos team had a vision to grow the U.S. beef business under an established brand, which already had a strong track record in food safety, significant scale and strategically located facilities.  Recognizing this commitment, the Swift management selected the Kainos team as their partner in 2002 for the journey outside of ConAgra.

Change Capital At Work

Prior to closing the deal, the Kainos team established several Change Capital initiatives in order to facilitate the transition from a ConAgra division to a stand-alone business.  The first step was to create a plan to realign the team structure from divisional to functional responsibilities. The successful integration of the U.S. beef and pork teams into one North American Red Meats division enhanced the organizational coordination between sales, production and procurement. This coordination continued to evolve in response to changing industry dynamics and challenges related to international commodity market pressures. We helped Swift maximize its sales force effectiveness by enhancing “customer-centric” sales philosophy and improved service to Swift’s most profitable meat customers through a new “Platinum Accounts” program. To address the robust industry demand for further processed meat products, Swift converted its second shift at the flagship beef facility into a value-added processing operation, demonstrating the continued evolution of the business.

After creating a successful stand-alone business, Swift was sold to JBS, a large, international meat processor in 2007.