Brazilian meat giant JBS, fresh from defeat in the auction
for US-based Hillshire Brands, returned to its homeland to take a baby step back on the acquisition
trail, purchasing Céu Azul Alimentos to extend its reach into the poultry
JBS, the world's biggest meatpacker, said it had paid
R$246.0m ($111m) for Céu Azul Alimentos, which owns two poultry processing plants,
incorporating feed mills and incubators, in the state of Sao Paulo, with capacity for 330,000
birds a day.
The takeover brings JBS – for which acquisition has been a mainstay
of its growth from a butchery in Anapolis in Goias state – a scalp a month
after it withdrew from the race to buy Hillshire Brands, the rump of Sara Lee
Corp, leaving rival Tyson Foods clear to seal the deal for $8.55bn.
And it extends JBS's reach into the domestic chicken market
which it entered in earnest two years ago, with the R$5.85bn purchase of the Seara
pork and poultry assets from Brazilian competitor Marfrig.
Indeed, Céu Azul Alimentos is being purchased through the
Seara business, around which JBS formed its JBS Foods division in October 2013.
"This acquisition represents an important step under JBS
Foods' strategy to increase its presence in the principal international
markets, in addition to strengthening its position in Brazil's largest consumer
centre," JBS said.
Besides its processing assets, Céu Azul Alimentos also
boasts licences to export to some major import markets, JBS said, without
JBS Foods in the first three months of 2014 achieved earnings
before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of R$379.8m, a
rise of 13.7%, on revenues of R$2.78bn, offering the best margins of any of JBS's
JBS, while having its history in beef, also owns US chicken
group Pilgrim's Pride.