Brazilian food group Marfrig said today (16 September) that its acquisition of Seara Alimentos, Cargill's local poultry and pork business, will expand its operations at home and overseas.

Cargill told just-food today that Marfrig had approached the US agribusiness giant about buying Seara, which makes a range of products from sausages and salami to ready meals and hamburgers.

Chief planning officer Ricardo Florence said the US$706.2m purchase of Seara would make Marfrig a stronger branded portfolio to sell to Brazilian retailers and help the business compete with the newly-formed Brasil Foods.

"We will be closer to the positioning of Brasil Foods," Florence told analysts as Marfrig laid out the rationale for the deal. "We can gain more marketing power [and] the Seara brand will be used for other poultry products."

Florence said the acquisition would make Marfrig Brazil's second-largest chicken exporter and its number two exporter of pork products. The acquistion, he added, would give Marfrig better access to markets like Japan, China, South Korea and Europe.

Florence said: "Seara will increase our margins not only in Brazil but also in Europe."

Marfrig, which owns UK meat group Moy Park, hopes to close the deal with Cargill in December and Florence hinted that the company would offer some shares in its business to help fund the deal.