Brazil-based meat giant JBS has reportedly said its majority stake in US poultry arm Pilgrim’s Pride is not for sale.
According to Reuters, the company ruled out selling Pilgrim’s shortly after it announced the sale of its beef operations in three South American markets to companies controlled by local rival Minerva.
“Pilgrim’s Pride is critical to JBS’ long-term strategy of pursuing business opportunities that reduce volatility and enhance margins,” according to a statement from the company reported by Reuters. “No core assets at JBS USA, or any other part of the world, are candidates for sale,” the statement said.
JBS said earlier this week it had agreed to sell its beef businesses in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay for US$300m. Pul Argentina S.A. will take on the Argentinian business, Frigomerc S.A. the operations in Uruguay and Pulsa S.A. the Paraguayan asset, JBS said. It described the companies as “entities controlled by Minerva S.A.”
The deal remains subject to regulatory approval, JBS said.
JBS, one of the world’s largest meat processors, has had a tumultuous 2017 after becoming embroiled in a number of corruption scandals. Two weeks ago, it was reported JBS and its controlling shareholders, facing the prospects of fines to settle some of the allegations, had asked an investment bank to help plan a sale of some of its assets.
In March, JBS moved to expand its business in the US through the acquisition of bacon and deli meats business Plumrose USA from Danish Crown, the Denmark-based meat cooperative.
Last month, Pilgrim’s Pride booked a drop in its first-quarter profits, despite improved sales. The company reported net income of $93.9m, down from $118.3m in the first quarter of 2016.