JBS is to invest 800m reais ($167m) in tripling production capacity at a factory in Brazil after a fire disrupted production at the plant last week.

At least 1,400 new jobs will be created at the site in Diamantino in the central state of Mato Grosso, operated by the Sao Paulo-based company’s Friboi unit.

The investment will double the site’s workforce to 2,800 employees, creating the largest Friboi unit in Brazil.

The Brazilian enterprise expects the factory’s recovery and expansion work to be completed by the end of this year, allowing the resumption of operation.

Operations have been suspended since the fire, with production relocated to other units including Juara, which is also in Mato Grosso.

Investigations about the origins of the fire are ongoing.

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By GlobalData

JBS will continue to employ all 1,400 workers at the unit during the reconstruction period, JBS Brazil CEO Gilberto Xandó and Friboi president Renato Costa said.

Xandó said: “We are excited about the prospect of expanding our presence in the municipality, and we hope to further strengthen the livestock industry in Mato Grosso, contributing to its economic development.”

JBS employs 9,500 people in Mato Grosso, which will increase to 11,000 after the development.

“Working together, we are going to transform this difficult moment into new opportunities for Mato Grosso and for agribusiness in Brazil”, said Carlos Fávaro, minister of agriculture and livestock who visited the facility after the fire.

Friboi exports to more than 150 countries and sells under brand names such as Friboi, Maturatta and 1953.

JBS built a Friboi beef plant in Brasnorte, Mato Grosso, following a 70m reais ($17.1m at the time, $14.6m now) investment in early 2020.

The same year it invested in a Friboi unit in Brazil to expand its beef processing capacity in Sao Paulo. The investment was around 11m reais ($2.6m at the time, $2.3m now) and aimed to expand beef slaughtering capacity by about 30%.

The meat behemoth reported tumbling shares in May following “adversities in almost all countries”.

CEO Gilberto Tomazoni said: “In the last 12 years, during which we already had a global platform, this is the first quarter that we have faced adversities in almost all countries where we operate.”

The Swift and Pilgrim’s brand owner booked a loss of 1.5bn reais ($304.7m) for the opening three months of the year, compared to a net income of 4.6bn reais in the first quarter of 2022.

JBS’ adjusted EBITDA dropped 78.6% to 2.16bn reais, while its gross profit more than halved to 7.61bn reais.

Revenue fell 4.6% to 86.7bn reais. JBS said revenues from five of its six divisions declined, with the exception of Brazil-based Seara. Adjusted EBITDA did fall by more than three-quarters at Seara, however.