SÃO PAULO, Brazil – JBS SA confirmed on Jan. 9 plans to close one of its meatpacking plants in Argentina, according to a report from Agra Europe. The company cited the need to maintain its competitiveness as the rationale behind the plant closure. However, JBS denied claims the company would leave Argentina altogether.

The plant stopped slaughtering on Dec. 17 and staff was sent on mandatory vacation, according to a Jan. 4 report from Bloomberg News. The plant in Venado Tuerto, Rosario province, employs 540 workers who would be relocated or compensated should the plant close, the news agency reported. Most of the beef produced at the plant is for export.