JBS, through two of its subsidiaries, has now sold all of its beef operations in these three countries to Pul Argentina SA, Frigomerc SA and Pulsa SA respectively – businesses owned by Brazilian meatpacker Minerva Foods.
The deal has been in the pipeline since early June and, at one stage, appeared to be in jeopardy after a federal judge temporarily blocked the sale, following calls for JBS assets to be frozen amid a corruption probe. However, JBS launched an appeal and the ruling was overturned in early July, paving the way for the Brazilian meat processor to offload the beef assets in the three markets.
Completion of this sale marks the first step in a global downsizing operation for JBS.
Big companies offloaded
The divestment programme has seen the business put companies collectively worth over $1bn dollars on the chopping block as it seeks to pay off debt.
Northern Irish-based poultry processor Moy Park, US-based Five Rivers Cattle Feeding and Canada-based Lakeside Feeders are all up for sale. A 19.2% stake in Brazilian dairy business Vigor Alimentos is also up for grabs.
By selling companies across Europe, South and North America, JBS hopes to raise R$6bn ($1.8bn) to pay off creditors.
At the end of July 2017, JBS reached a deal with its lenders to renegotiate billions of dollars in debt owed by its JBS Brazil subsidiary.
The deal means the original terms for loan repayments would continue for a further 12 months, provided that JBS continues to pay interest on R$20.5bn ($6.5bn) of debt owed to banks in Brazil and other countries.
Earlier this year, the holding company of JBS, J&F Investimentos, was fined R$10.3bn ($3.1bn) as part of a leniency agreement following a huge corruption scandal.
At the time of the fine, JBS told this site that none of its assets would be sold to pay the fine, but less than a month later the meatpacker embarked on a major sale of assets.