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Brazil antitrust regulator opens probe

Move comes after executives of meat packers JBS and BRF said corn prices would be passed on

Brazilian meat packers have said higher corn prices in that country will be passed on to chicken consumers.

Reuters – Brazilian antitrust regulator Cade on Jan. 30 opened an investigation into meat packers JBS SA and BRF SA, according to a decision signed by the agency’s superintendent.

The decision said the probe was launched based on an article in Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico that described executives of the two companies saying at an event in Sao Paulo the day before that they would have to pass through a 30 per cent rise in corn costs to chicken prices.

Reuters was present at the event and witnessed the remarks by JBS chief executive, Gilberto Tomazoni and BRF’s CEO, Lorival Luz.

Tomazoni stated that corn prices have risen sharply in Brazil, due to strong demand for exports and ethanol. Corn represents the largest cost on chicken meat.

The companies said they had not been notified of the investigation. BRF said it acts ethically and in accordance with rules governing competition. JBS said it rejected any allegations of cartel practices.

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