US meat processor Swift & Co. is to be sold to Brazil’s J&F Participações in a deal worth US$225m.

J&F, which owns a majority stake in Latin America’s largest beef processor JBS, agreed the deal with US private equity group HM Capital, which has controlled Swift since 2002.

The future of Swift has become the subject of speculation in recent months. Swift’s owners announced a strategic review of the business back in January after a run of poor financial results.

The acquisition of Swift will give JBS access to the US market and opens its business to other markets in the Pacific region, including Australia.

Joesley Mendonça Batista, partner of J&F and chief executive of JBS said: “It is a major step for our group in establishing a global presence. Swift today remains a great company with what we believe is significant earnings and growth potential.”

Swift president and CEO Sam Rovit added: “Joining J&F to become the world’s largest beef and pork processor, Swift should emerge even stronger, and that is good news for our partnership customers, our suppliers and our employees.”