JBS agrees to acquire Cargill US pork business

JBS USA Pork on July 1 agreed to acquire Cargill’sU.S.-based pork business for $1.45 billion. Completion of the acquisition issubject to regulatory review and approval.

Andrea Gantz | JBS USA Pork plans to acquire Cargill's U.S. pork business for a price of $1.45 billion.
Andrea Gantz | JBS USA Pork plans to acquire Cargill's U.S. pork business for a price of $1.45 billion.

JBS USA Pork on July 1 agreed to acquire Cargill’s U.S.-based pork business for $1.45 billion. Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory review and approval.

“Today’s announcement of our agreement to purchase the Cargill pork operations is a strategic investment in the long-term growth of our domestic and global pork business and demonstrates our continued commitment to the U.S. livestock sector,” said Martin Dooley, president and chief operating officer of JBS USA Pork. “This transaction will strengthen our position as a producer and supplier of all major animal proteins around the world, and provide increased opportunities for our producer partners and key customers. The strength and success of Cargill’s pork team and hog suppliers, as well as its industry leadership in areas such as animal welfare, exports, bacon production and innovation, were significant and compelling factors that led us to pursue this acquisition and enhance our ability to serve our diverse, global customer base.”

Included in JBS’ acquisition of Cargill’s pork business are two Midwest meat processing plants, one in Ottumwa, Iowa, and the other at Beardstown, Illinois. Both plants were acquired by Cargill in 1987, and in 2014 they processed a total of 9.3 million hogs. The purchase by JBS also includes five feed mills (two in Missouri, and one each in Arkansas, Iowa and Texas), and four hog farms (two in Arkansas and one each in Oklahoma and Texas).

“The strengths of the JBS and Cargill pork businesses are complementary. Together, they promise to offer enhanced service to customers and more opportunities for employees and hog producers while providing an important source of protein to consumers around the world,” said Todd Hall, Cargill senior vice president. “The professional and focused manner in which JBS approached Cargill demonstrated to us that they place a great deal of value on growing this part of their company to better compete in the marketplace and are willing to invest in its future. JBS is acquiring a business with excellent people and fixed assets, and an established track record of success.”

The history of JBS USA Pork

JBS first entered the U.S. pork market with the acquisition of Swift & Company in 2007 and has steadily improved performance ever since. The company has more than 6,000 team members and the total daily capacity to process more than 50,000 hogs at processing facilities in Marshalltown, Iowa; Worthington, Minnesota; and Louisville, Kentucky. JBS USA Pork offers a wide selection of well-known brands including Swift and Swift Premium. The proposed transaction will enhance JBS USA Pork’s ability to meet increasing global demand for high-quality, innovative fresh and frozen pork products.

Another pending JBS acquisition

JBS’ pending purchase of the Cargill pork unit is the second proposed acquisition the company has announced in June. Less than two weeks ago, JBS agreed to buy European poultry company Moy Park from Brazilian competitor Marfrig, for a price of about $1.5 billion.

JBS CEO Wesley Batista in May remarked that the company would be pursuing acquisitions in 2015, departing from comments that he made during a March conference call with shareholders, when he stated that the company planned to focus on organic growth, rather than pursuing more acquisitions.

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