There are two poultry products brands of great tradition in Brazil: Perdigão and Sadia. The first, founded in 1934, and the second, founded in 1944, joined forces in 2009 to form the huge food conglomerate that today is BRF. With time, it has acquired several companies, has opened its horizons to other products and has created other companies in places as distant as Oman or Singapore.
But what's going on with BRF?
Just when we all thought that the issue of "Weak Flesh" had passed, here comes the retaliation. At times, with soap opera overtones, the situations match each other until they reach a point in which one questions things.
It should be remembered that BRF, a publicly traded company, has as its main shareholders companies in the financial field: Fundação Petrobras de Seguridade Social (Petros), a company specializing in social security; Caixa Previdência Funcionários Banco do Brasil (Previ), an old pension fund (the largest in Latin America); Tarpon Gestora de Recursos SA, an investment company; GIC Private Limited, a sovereign fund; and Standard Life Aberdeen PLC, an investment company. All of them hold 42 percent of the shares, according to Bússola do Investidor.
Pedro de Andrade Faria, the company's former CEO, was taken into custody for five days as part the latest phase of Operation Weak Flesh, and also has a merely financial background: MBA at The University of Chicago, senior positions at Tarpon Investimentos (I suppose from the same group of one of the big shareholders), Patria Investments, Chase Manhattan Bank and other institutions (all financial).
And where were the chickens and the other foods? I think they also need someone who knows that chickens have feathers and beaks. In the last few months, it has been said and read in the Brazilian press very often, that the recent administration of BRF has been a disaster and that networks of irresponsibility of great impact have been weaving. From my point of view, there are tricks and pitfalls here.
And while all this is happening, the humongous Brazilian poultry industry is affected. Trade is based on trust. Lost trust is very, very difficult to recover. And all this at a perfect moment when the monster of protectionism emerges and that, probably, a world trade war is coming.
I sincerely hope that Brazil overcomes this bitter moment. What do you think?