JBS agrees to buy Australian beef company

by Joel Crews
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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — JBS S.A. announced plans to acquire New South Wales, Australia-based Rockdale Beef, making it part of the JBS Swift Australia operation.

Owned by Mitsubishi Corp. and Itoham Foods, both based in Japan, the deal would include all facets of the integrated business, which has an annual capacity of 200,000 head in addition to a feedlot with a capacity of approximately 50,000 cattle. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and the transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

Rockdale exports beef to customers in 12 countries with Asia being its biggest market. This past year, the firm made news when it was forced to decrease production and announced plans to eliminate 150 jobs. At that time, Rockdale officials were making rebuilding plans, which included shifting from grain-fed beef to grass-fed production and dialing down its processing operations to 2,000 cattle per week.

This past month JBS received regulatory approval to acquireTatiara Meat, a South Australian lamb processing firm, making it the largest lamb processor in Australia, with a daily slaughtering capacity of 24,500 head.

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