Brazilian protein giant JBS enters fish production industry
Brazil’s JBS, one of the world’s largest protein processors with interests on three continents, is entering the fishing industry following a deal to purchase Australian breeding company Huon Aquaculture salmon for the equivalent of $ 315 million.
The pre-deal already enjoys the support of most shareholders and is expected to be decided by the end of the year, after approval by Australian authorities, according to a statement released this week by the company.
Huon, based in Tasmania, is Australia’s second largest salmon producer with an estimated production of 35,000 tonnes per year, supplying 40% of the domestic market, the statement added. Andrew Forrest, an Australian millionaire linked to the mining sector, bought 7.3% of the company, listed on the Sydney Stock Exchange, for some US $ 15 million last June.
Apparently, JBS is targeting 100% of Huon. The Brazilian group already has a meat processing and packaging plant in Longford, Tasmania. JBS was also involved in the purchase of a large pig farm, Rivalea, which resulted in a public hearing by the antitrust office in Australia to assess the impact of such an acquisition.
World consumption of fish according to the FAO has grown faster than that of beef, port and chicken, driven by a growing world population and a higher level of income, and which, following current trends in food and health, recognizes the benefits of fish in both nature and aquaculture.
As a result, the global fish market is estimated to have an annual turnover of US $ 400 billion and has attracted frontline multinational companies such as Cargill, which is also planning to go into production and fish processing.
?? This is a strategic acquisition, which signals JBS’s access to the aquaculture business, ?? said Gilberto Tomazoni, CEO of JBS. “Aquaculture will become our new platform for business growth.”
Huon has reportedly not been having a good time lately, having lost some US $ 65 million in the six months leading up to December, arguing a drop in demand for salmon as a direct consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic. And last February, the company announced that it would begin a strategic review to assess several takeover bids.