THE world’s largest meat processor, JBS has logged an adjusted pre-tax profit of R$19.9 billion (equivalent to about A$6.76b) in full-year financial results announced this morning, Australian time.
The result was a record for the company, up almost 40 percent on the year before.
JBS is the largest and most diversified processor in the world, with beef, pork, poultry and value-added operations spanning North and South America, Australia and parts of Europe.
Net revenue for the company’s financial year ended December 31 was R$204 billion – the equivalent of about A$69.3b – up 12.6pc compared with 2018. Net income was R$6.1b, the highest in the company’s history.
The company’s Seara value-added division based in Brazil was a big improver, lifting net revenue by 15.2pc and adjusted EBITDA by 46pc. Brazilian beef operations lifted revenue by 15.9pc and EBITDA by 39pc. JBS’s USA Beef division, which also include Australian and Canadian processing operations (individual countries are not reported separately), lifted net revenue by 10.9pc to R$87.2b in 2019, and EBITDA pf R$8b, 27pc higher than 2018.
Value in geographic and species diversity, and scale
JBS’s global chief executive officer, Gilberto Tomazoni told shareholders the company had had an excellent financial result for the 2019 year, reflecting the evolution of JBS’s operations.
“We ended this year in the best financial position in the company’s history,” he said.
“This achievement reflects the strength of our production platform diversified by product type – beef, pork, chicken, sheep and processed products – and by geography – we have production operations in several countries on four continents: United States, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, United Kingdom, France and Italy.”
“And what is important, we have scale in all business segments in which we operate. JBS is either the leader, or the second largest producer in each market segment,” he said.
Mr Tomazoni emphasised the continued growth in the company’s Seara value-added and branded segment, which continued to evolve rapidly.
“Our brands have gained important points in consumer preference, which has allowed them to increase penetration in homes, as well as increased repeat purchases by consumers,” he said.
“All of this, combined with the focus on developing strategic relationships with key customers, has allowed for important gains in market share.”
JBS moves into plant-based protein
Mr Tomazoni mentioned the company’s new global ‘meatless’ platform – a complete portfolio of vegetable protein products.
“In Brazil, where we began in this segment, Seara launched the Incrível line – a 100pc vegetable-based product which has the exclusive ‘biomolecule I’, the only one in the Brazilian market to give flavour and texture to the segment’s products,” he said. Plant-based products had grown in all markets in which they were marketed, he said.
“JBS will also be an important player in this category, in all markets in which we currently participate.”
Partly in reference to large declines in Chinese pork production due to ASF, Mr Tomazoni said the world last year had reduced protein production compared with previous years.
“We are now facing a worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19. Food supplies are essential at this critical time.
“We (as meat processors), have a noble mission to feed people around the world. Ensuring the supply of food is essential at this critical time, and we will keep operations running smoothly, with great care and arrangements so that our team is safe and ready to feed the population at the time when it most needs to take care of its health.”
“We are confident that all this will pass and even more secure that, if we do our part looking at each market, each customer, looking for innovative solutions and with a focus on doing our best, we will be guaranteeing the continuity of our business and the growth of JBS and everyone who works with us,” he said.
In remarks about operations in Australia, the company said the highlight was the increase in beef and lamb exports directly to China, which grew 80pc in sales in the 2019 year.