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JBS to appeal blocked $300m asset sale

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Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+

23-Jun-2017

Wesley Batista has stayed on at JBS but his brother, Joesely, has left
Wesley Batista has stayed on at JBS but his brother, Joesely, has left

JBS plans to launch an appeal after a Brazilian judge blocked its sale of meat firms in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to rival Minerva in a nine-figure deal.

One of the world’s largest meatpackers JBS saw its planned sale of subsidiaries in South America break down this week after a judge suspended the move. Neither JBS nor Minerva gave a reason for why the deal was blocked, but Reuters reported a judge stopped the sale as it could possibly interfere with a corruption scandal.

JBS said it would “take the necessary legal measures in order to appeal the decision”.

Brazilian meatpacker Minerva stressed that, as the deal was still subject to regulatory approval, no money had been given to JBS as part of the planned sale.

Divestment strategy

The judicial ruling blocking JBS’s $300m sale of all assets in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay was made on 19 June. However, Minerva said it only became aware of the block against its takeover on 22 June.

JBS’ plan to sell assets to Minerva is part of wide-ranging efforts to offload assets across three continents as the business aims to reduce debt and improve its financial structure.

The Minerva deal was announced in early June. More recently, JBS said it would put Northern Irish poultry firm Moy Park and US-based Five Rivers Cattle Feeding on the market, as well as selling its 19.2% stake in Brazilian dairy farm Vigor Alimentos SA.

Through this major divestment of what JBS called “non-core and less strategic assets”, the meatpacker hopes to raise R$6bn ($1.8bn).

Earlier this month the holding company of JBS, J&F Investimentos, was forced to pay a record R$10.3bn ($3.1bn) leniency fine amid a wider corruption probe.

The Batista family that owns JBS and J&F Investimentos has always maintained that no JBS assets would not be sold to pay the fine.

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