ConAgra Foods plans to sell its Armour, Butterball and Eckrich refrigerated meats brands, which accounted for $1.9 billion last year. The sale is part of the company's ongoing plans to "simplify operations and to concentrate in areas where we have the strongest competitive positions,” according to Gary Rodkin, president and chief executive officer.

The businesses include Armour meats and hot dogs, Butterball turkey, and Eckrich smoked sausages, hot dogs and lunchmeats. ConAgra sells these processed meat products to retail grocers, delis, restaurants and other foodservice establishments.

Other food brands, such as Healthy Choice, Slim Jim and Hebrew National, will remain with ConAgra. Last week, the company agreed to sell its Cook's smoked ham business to Smithfield Foods.

The sale, which will take 10 to 12 months to complete, also will include 15 production plants located in: Huntsville, Ozark and Jonesboro, Ark.; Longmont, Colo.; Peru and St. Charles, Ill.; Mason City, Iowa; Junction City and Kansas City, Kan.; a nonkosher facility in Quincy, Mich.; St. James, Minn.; Carthage, Mo.; Hastings and Omaha, Neb.; and Lufkin, Texas.

The company also is making other moves to simplify its business structure. The retail and culinary products divisions will be combined to form consumer foods. It will move its grocery foods division, which includes products like Hunt's, PAM and Chef Boyardee from Irvine, Calif. to Naperville, Ill., currently headquarters of the company's meat and dairy businesses.

Employees in shared divisional functions, such as quality assurance, product development, transportation and warehouse management will be consolidated in Omaha, Neb.

ConAgra will provide more information on the restructuring during its investors' meeting in March. For more information, go to www.conagrafoods.com.

ConAgra news release, Meatingplace.com