Jack Link's buying JBS SA plant, enters j.v.

by Bryan Salvage
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MINONG, Wis. – Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, the leading beef jerky brand in the U.S., has reached an agreement to acquire a packaged meat snack products manufacturing facility located in Mankato, Minn., from JBS S.A., the largest beef producer in the world. Jack Link’s also entered into a joint venture with JBS S.A. to operate two manufacturing facilities in the state of São Paulo, Brazil.

Including the acquisition and joint venture, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky will increase from nine to 12 the number of manufacturing facilities worldwide from which the company sources meat-snack production.

Executives expect the transaction to close by the end of September, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to company leadership, this acquisition will enable Jack Link's to increase production capacity in order to meet growing consumer demand for the Jack Link’s brand. The meat snacks category has grown 4.4% in 2010 year-to-date, and this agreement will help further position Jack Link’s for future growth.

“JBS’s Mankato plant is a perfect fit for our business with an experienced work force and management team,” said Jack Link, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. “The addition of this plant gives us the opportunity to expand on our existing manufacturing operations and enhance our ability to meet our customers’ needs.”

The Mankato, Minn., facility manufactures packaged meat snack products under the Pioneer snack brand and other private labels and employs 85 people. Link said Jack Link’s plans to retain the plant's current management and employees.

The joint venture will help Jack Link’s to ensure an adequate supply of product to meet growing demand and provide it with the necessary flexibility in its supply chain.

“This joint venture is highly complementary,” Link said. “It allows us to better leverage our strength in manufacturing and marketing meat snacks and JBS’s strength in beef production to benefit the marketplace.”

“We are forming an ideal partnership in bringing together the largest beef producer with the No. 1 meat snacks team to grow this business at a time when consumers are turning more and more toward healthy protein concentrated snacks,” added Wesley Batista, president and CEO of JBS USA. “With our competitive production skills and with Jack Link`s meat snack expertise and brand strength, this j.v. will enhance business for both of us and grow the market for this healthy product.”
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