Marfrig finalizes deal for National Beef

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Brazilian meat company Marfrig Global Foods announced that it received the necessary approvals to acquire 51 percent interest in Kansas City, Missouri-based National Beef Packing Co. LLC on June 6.  

According to reports in April, Marfrig will pay $969 million for an equity interest in National Beef. The private bank Rabobank financed the payment with the participation of Banco Bradesco and ING.

The deal makes Marfrig the world’s second-largest beef processor with combined sales of $13 billion.   

“The acquisition of National Beef represents the realization of a unique opportunity,” Martín Secco, CEO of Marfrig said in April. “With the transaction, we will have operations in the world’s two largest beef markets, will gain access to extremely sophisticated consumer countries and will be able to grow while maintaining rigorous financial discipline.”

Jefferies Financial Group, formerly known as Leucadia National Corp., which acquired the ownership interest in National Beef in 2011, sold 48 percent interest in the company. Jefferies will retain 31 percent interest as a minority shareholder.

US Premium Beef, comprised of a group of 2,100 US-based cattle producers that founded the company in 1996, will retain 15 percent interest in National Beef along with a 3 percent interest held by other stockholders.

According to the agreement, Jefferies and other investors cannot sell their shares in National Beef for at least five years.

With beef as one of Marfrig’s core business segments, the addition of National Beef solidifies its global position in the industry. It gives Marfrig additional access to National Beef’s 40 export markets, including Japan, where beef exports are currently banned.

National Beef, which was founded in 1992, operates two slaughtering facilities in Kansas and is responsible for handling about 13 percent of the cattle slaughtering capacity in the US each year. It also operates three processing plants located in Hummels Wharf, Pennsylvania, Moultrie, Georgia, and St. Joseph, Missouri.

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