Kansas City, Mo.-based National Beef Inc., the owner of National Beef Packing Co., announced this week it has filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to make an initial public stock offering, according to news reports. The company has not yet released a date, number of shares or estimated share price. According to the Associated Press, National Beef Packing reported $4 billion in sales through the first three quarters of its fiscal year, down 5 percent from a year ago, but net profits were up 85 percent.

In 1993, National Beef purchased its Liberal, Kan. location and renamed it Farmland National Beef LLC. U.S. Premium Beef Ltd. purchased a minority interest in the company in December of 1997. The company was jointly owned by Farmland Industries and U.S. Premium Beef Ltd.

In August of 2003, U.S. Premium Beef Ltd. purchased majority interest with NBP management group and Beef Products Inc. as minority investors. The company was renamed National Beef Packing Co. LLC.

In June of 2006, National Beef and its majority owner, U.S. Premium Beef, acquired Brawley Beef LLC of Brawley, Ca.

The IPO announcement follows a pattern of mergers and public offerings in the packing business. Last year, JBS SA, the Brazilian owner of JBS Swift, attempted to acquire National Beef, but abandoned the plan in February of this year in the face of resistance from the SEC. JBS did, however, acquire Smithfield Beef Group, including Five Rivers Cattle Feeding.

In July of this year, JBS announced its own plan for a public stock offering. Last month, the company reached an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., and subsequently delayed the planned IPO until January 2010, giving the company time to finalize the Pilgrim’s Pride deal.

For a series of Drovers articles on mergers and acquisitions in the packing sector, click here.