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JBS surpasses Tyson in chicken with Marfrig deal

By Bloomberg News

This article was published June 10, 2013 at 7:13 a.m.

JBS SA, the world's largest beef producer, agreed to buy Marfrig Alimentos SA meat-processing plants in Brazil in a noncash deal to become the world's largest chicken producer.

JBS will take on $2.74 billion in debt for the Seara poultry and pork unit in Brazil and the Zenda tannery unit in Uruguay, the Sao Paulo-based company said in a regulatory filing Monday. JBS and Marfrig officials had planned a morning news conference in Sao Paulo, according to a statement from both companies Sunday.

For Marfrig, the most indebted meatpacker in the Western Hemisphere, the deal means a cut in net debt that jumped sevenfold in the past five years to about $4.67 billion as of March 31. The acquisition of Seara's local assets would turn JBS into the world's largest poultry producer, surpassing Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc.

The JBS-Marfrig agreement was reported Saturday by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper columnist Sonia Racy.

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