Brazilian food group Marfrig has played down reports that it has struck a deal to buy local beef processor Frigorífico Independência.

Reports in Brazil yesterday (30 September) linked Marfrig, which has expanded its business in recent weeks with three key deals, with an acquisition of Frigorífico.

However, Ricardo Florence, Marfrig's chief planning and investor relations officer, asserted that "no agreement or negotiations currently exist" between the two companies.

Last month, Marfrig expanded its beef production capacity through an agreement to lease 11 meatpacking plants from meatpackers of the Margen Group and Mercosul.

The facilities have a combined slaughter capacity of 8,800 head of cattle a day and 1,700 tonnes of prepared products each month.

The same day, Marfrig announced a five-year tie-up with wholesaler Grupo Martins.

A week earlier, Marfrig bought Cargill-owned Brazilian poultry business Seara Alimentos for US$706.2m.