10 April 2018

Marfrig beefs up US business

Linklaters and Lefosse Advogados advises on the deal which is going ahead despite Brazilian company Marfrig's US beef ban.

Marfrig Global Foods, one of the world’s largest animal protein producers, has reached an agreement for the acquisition of 51 per cent of the membership interests in National Beef Packing Company, the fourth-largest beef processor in the United States. Marfrig has agreed to pay US$ 969 million for the equity interest.  Linklaters acted as international counsel and Lefosse Advogados as Brazilian counsel to Marfrig.

Second-largest beef processor

Once the transaction is concluded, the foods company will become the world’s second-largest beef processor, with consolidated sales of R$ 43 billion (US$ 13 billion). National Beef has a slaughtering capacity of 12,000 heads of cattle per day and is headquartered in Kansas City. It has two slaughterhouses located in Kansas and accounts for approximately 13 per cent of total US cattle slaughtering capacity.

Beef ban remains

The acquisition is going ahead despite last year’s US ban on imports of fresh Brazilian beef due to safety concerns. Brazil is the world’s top exporter of beef and poultry, but in June, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said a high percentage of shipments failed to pass safety checks. The agency stated the suspension will remain in place until Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry 'takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory.' Marfrig’s chief executive Martin Secco told a news conference in Sao Paulo he is hoping the US will lift the ban by the middle of this year.