JBS Looking for ‘Small’ Acquisitions in Brazil, CEO Says

JBS SA (JBSS3), which became the world’s largest beef producer through more than 10 acquisitions in the past five years, said it wants to make more purchases as it bets on increased profit margins in the beef sector.

“We are looking into small, opportunistic acquisitions in Brazil,” Chief Executive Officer Wesley Batista, 42, said today in a telephone interview from Porto Alegre, Brazil. “Beef margins are expected to improve and we want to be ready for the new cycle.” He didn’t disclose the amount to be spent.

Beef margins are expected to rise because of declining cattle prices in Brazil, he said. Acquisitions should be financed with cash, said Batista, who took over as CEO at the Sao Paulo-based company in February 2011.

JBS agreed today to lease Frangosul poultry plants in Brazil from Groupe Doux for an undisclosed amount. Last month, it bought two beef plants in the north of the country and offered to buy bankrupt Brazilian meat packer Independencia SA for 268 million reais ($139 million). In February, JBS leased four slaughterhouses from Guapore Carnes.

JBS shares fell 1.2 percent to 7.34 reais at the close in Sao Paulo. The Bovespa (IBOV) stock index slumped 2 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucia Kassai in Sao Paulo at lkassai@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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