JBS to expand in processed foods, eyes Europe

Sao Paulo | Reuters –– Brazil’s JBS, the world’s largest beef exporter, is looking to enlarge its processed foods operations and expand in Europe, CEO Wesley Batista said in an interview with Valor Economico published Friday.

The company, which in recent months has made billion-dollar acquisitions in the U.K. and U.S., is also looking to increase its international chicken and pork operations, Batista told the paper, adding that acquisitions are in JBS’s “DNA.”

Batista said its acquisition of Moy Park, the British unit of rival Marfrig Global Foods, could serve as a base to expand in Europe, adding that he sees acquisition opportunities in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.

“Moy Park is the foundation to build a larger platform, and that is our intention,” Batista said according to Valor. The purchase announced in June should be finalized by the end of the year, he said.

“Moy Park does not have pork operations, so an eventual movement into pigs could make sense,” he added.

JBS, already the owner of one of Canada’s biggest beef packing plants at Brooks, Alta., also announced the purchase of Cargill’s pork operations in July.

The company’s near-term expansion plans do not include beef operations or Asia, Batista told Valor.

“We are already the principal operators in the markets where we want to be. It doesn’t make sense for us to have beef operations in Europe,” he was quoted.

“Europe and North America are on the near-term horizon, Asia is farther away,” he added.

To realize its international ambitions, JBS announced two new positions Monday. The president of global operations will be Gilberto Tomazoni, previously chairman at Pilgrim’s Pride. Tarek Farahat will join JBS from Procter and Gamble to serve as president of marketing and innovation.

Reporting for Reuters by Caroline Stauffer.

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