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January 4, 2022updated 18 Mar 2022 12:21pm

JBS wraps up Rivalea acquisition

The Brazil-based meat giant has completed its takeover of the Australian pork producer.

By Dean Best

Meat titan JBS has sealed its acquisition of Australia-based pork processor Rivalea.

In a brief stock-exchange filing today (4 January), JBS said it had finalised a deal that had been scrutinised by Australia’s competition watchdog.

“With this acquisition JBS strengthens its position in Australia, becoming the leader in pork processing in the country, adding important brands to the portfolio, in addition to strengthening the company’s export platform,” the Brazil-based giant said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) cleared the takeover in early December, six months after JBS announced the deal. Following the ACCC’s approval, the acquisition then needed the all-clear from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

The ACCC launched a review of the transaction in September, determining it “may give rise to vertical-integration concerns”.

However, last month, the regulator’s deputy chair, Mick Keogh, said it had found the acquisition was “unlikely to substantially lessen competition in pork production and processing markets”.

He added: “The ACCC closely considered the potential for JBS to frustrate or foreclose pork producers and wholesalers’ access to third-party service kills and competing smallgoods manufacturers’ access to fresh pork. In particular, we paid close attention to concerns raised by pig producers about their ongoing access to service kills.”

Rivalea is the majority owner of the Diamond Valley Pork (DVP) abattoir and processing facility in Laverton, Victoria, as well as another abattoir and processing plant in Corowa, New South Wales. The company also rears pigs and supplies pork products to wholesalers and retailers in Australia. Its brands include Murray Valley Pork and Riverview Farms.

At the time of the announcement in June, JBS said Rivalea commanded a 26% share of the local pork market and generates annual sales of AUD400m (US$289.7m).

JBS entered Australia more than 20 years ago and has extensive operations in pork, beef and lamb, including the Seven Point Australian Pork brand. The Brazilian firm, which also supplies local retailers, owns Primo Foods, a subsidiary manufacturing ham, bacon, salami and deli meats.

Since the Rivalea announcement in June, JBS has been busy on the acquisition front, with another deal recently completed in Australia for salmon products producer Huon Aquaculture, marking the Brazilian company’s entry into the seafood category.

The business also entered the cultivated-protein space as it announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Spain’s BioTech Foods. JBS also has a presence in meat-free with its own brand Planterra, and earlier this year expanded in the segment with the acquisition of Dutch firm Vivera.

JBS has also snapped up US bacon and ham maker Sunnyvalley Smoked Meats and UK-based beef and lamb processor Randall Parker Foods, a deal struck through its Pilgrim’s Pride unit in the US.

Just Food analysis: 2021 – The year in food industry M&A

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