Brazilian-based meat giant JBS is set to launch one of this year’s biggest company floats on the New York Stock Exchange.
The world’s largest meat business, with processing operations in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Australia and the USA, has filed for initial public offering of its JBS Foods International division.
It has booked a $US500 million ($680m) placeholder as the minimum basis for its float, due within six months.
JBS Foods International will control all the company’s operations outside Brazil, including businesses in Australia where the company has grown rapidly to be the nation’s number one meat processing operation.
JBS established in Australia a decade ago and now has 10 meatworks and five feedlots stretching from Townsville in North Queensland to Tasmania and South Australia.
Its feedlots turn off of more than 330,000 cattle a year, while its meatworks have capacity to process almost 2 million cattle and about 5m small stock annually.
In 2015 JBS paid $1.45 billion for the big Primo Smallgoods business in Australia and New Zealand, including abattoirs at Port Wakefield in SA and Scone in NSW and packing plants in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
JBS’s parent company spent much of last year preparing for a company restructure which intended to move its international headquarters to tax-friendly Ireland.
In October, however, it ditched plans to establish an Irish base and have a US-listed entity controlling all its businesses, including the Brazilian beef segment.
That move had been blocked by Brazil’s development bank, which is a major shareholder in JBS and has funded its global expansion into markets in more than 100 countries.
The global JBS business was expected to end 2016 with revenue of about $78 billion, but it paid more than $4b in debt finance costs in the first nine months of the year.
The latest plan will see the international division stay headquartered in the Netherlands, but expanded and taking ownership of all JBS’ considerable debt, with the New York listing set to give the company access to fresh capital and new debt refinancing options.
The JBS juggernaut is reported to have a debt load of more than $24b accumulated after gobbling up a string of protein-related businesses around the globe in the past decade.
Recently, in addition to Primo, JBS bought Cargill’s pork business in the US and the Mexican and Brazilian poultry business of its big US red meat rival, Tyson Foods.
JBS is also the 75pc owner of Nasdaq-listed US poultry giant Pilgrims Pride – a big and growing contributor to its revenue.
The total JBS business was expected to end 2016 with revenue of about $78b ($US57), but it paid more than $4b in finance costs in the first nine months of the year.
Although listed on the stock market in Brazil, JBS is controlled by its founding Batista family, with current chief executive officer, Wesley Batista, to be chairman of the newly revamped international foods business.
The story JBS to list global meat business in New York first appeared on Farm Online.