Brazilian meat processing giant JBS is making more moves into the value-added and processed food sector, buying US ham and bacon business Plumrose for about $300 million.
Plumrose USA has been sold by Europe's largest meat processor, Danish Crown, with is switching its focus to Asia and northern Europe.
JBS already considers its US pork business unit to be the world’s second largest producer of pork products, last year recording “impressive increases in both revenue and profitability”.
JBS, the biggest meat business in Australia, said the acquisition continued the company’s global strategy to increase its presence in the prepared foods and branded product categories.
Since 2013, it has acquired Brazilian prepared pork and poultry foods business Seara; Sydney-based red meat meals and food service sector supplier, Andrews Meat Industries, and the big Primo Smallgoods business in Australia and New Zealand, in 2015.
JBS also bought Moy Park prepared foods in the UK and US branded chicken products supplier, GNP Company in 2015, and Cargill Pork’s significant US bacon production capabilities late last year.
The Illinois-based Plumrose has revenue of about $660 a year.
Commenting on the sale, Danish Crown’s chief executive, Jais Valeur said he was certain JBS, with its wide presence and access to raw materials in North America, was a perfect match for Plumrose.
The acquisition includes two distribution centres and five five processing plants.
Early this week JBS posted final quarter net earnings for 2016 of almost $300m, from a net revenue of $17.3 billion, recovering from a 2015 loss of $114m during the same period.
The global company’s net debt fell four per cent on the previous quarter’s results to $19.5 billion.
Global chief executive officer, Wesley Batista, noted in Australia, the company had “a strong, diversified business with highly recognised brands where we continue to increase our presence in the prepared foods segment”.
“The Australian business unit holds significant relevance to the company’s growth strategy, given its ability to serve the Asian markets, where protein consumption is increasingly higher and more sophisticated,” Mr Batista said.
He said the US cycle of greater cattle availability had begun contributing to a substantial improvement in results for JBS’s US beef business unit.