BRAZILIAN meat processor Minerva has continued its recent expansionary mood, this week announcing plans to secure a large Uruguayan beef processor from its Japanese owners.
Minerva has made a non-binding offer for the assets of Breeders and Packers Uruguay (BPU), a subsidiary of Japanese meat giant NH Foods, which also holds significant processing assets in Australia. The transaction is subject to a due diligence process expected to be wound up by the end of 2022.
BPU’s single processing facility in Uruguay has capacity for 1200 head per day, and is regarded as one of the more modern facilities in South America, using high technology in the fabrication process to deliver high quality and sanitary safety performance.
Unlike Brazil, Uruguayan beef has market access virtually worldwide, including some of the most restrictive but more high-paying markets in the world including Japan, South Korea, the EU, the United States and China.
“This initiative is in line with Minerva Foods’ strategy to maximise its geographic diversification by creating alliances and partnerships, thus exploring strategic opportunities, including with NH Foods, in several countries,” Minerva said in a brief statement this morning.
NH Foods in Australia operates the large Oakey Beef Exports plant on the Darling Downs; Borthwicks near Mackay; and Wingham beef Exports in the Manning Valley north of Sydney.
Coincidentally, competitor JBS emphasised its own global geographic and species diversification strategy during its third quarter financial results presentation yesterday.
Last year, Minerva made its first processing investments in Australia, buying two Western Australian lamb processing facilities, and recommencing operations. It added the larger Australian Lamb Co to its Australian assets last month.
Speculation continues to swirl that the company may mount an offer for beef processing assets in Australia. Recent names mentioned in industry chatter include Joe Catalfamo’s Australian Meat Group, Bindaree Beef and even (according to The Australian’s financial gossip column) Teys Australia. Teys tells Beef Central there’s nothing in it.
Minerva contrasts with other large Brazilian beef processors like JBS and BRF by placing much greater emphasis on export sales, rather than focussing on domestic market supply.
The company already operates a large meat trading business in Australia called Independent Meat Traders, which it bought in 2016. IMTP sells surprising quantities of meat out of Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere into Asia, out of its Brisbane-based headquarters.