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Minerva Slumps as Russia Suspends Beef Imports: Sao Paulo Mover

May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Minerva SA, Brazil’s third-largest beef producer by market value, dropped to a five-month low as Russia suspended beef imports from one of its plants.

Shares of the Barretos, Brazil-based meatpacker fell 1.8 percent to 10.25 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo, the lowest since Dec. 18. Trading volume was 3 times the three-month daily average.

Russia “temporarily” halted beef imports from a plant in the state of Goias, Minerva said in a regulatory filing yesterday after the newspaper Valor Economico reported the suspension. The company said it is working to adapt plant conditions to Russia’s requirements.

“The suspension gives investors a bad feeling,” Felipe Rocha, an analyst at brokerage Omar Camargo, said by phone from Curitiba, Brazil. “Every now and then, we hear Russia is threatening to take that kind of measure against Brazilian meatpackers, so we never know if it’s really because of sanitary problems or if there is another reason behind it, such as political or regarding price negotiations.”

In December, Russia’s food safety agency said it was considering a Brazilian beef import ban because of a possible case of mad-cow disease. No action was taken.

Sao Paulo-based Valor also reported yesterday that Russia suspended imports from two plants operated by Marfrig Alimentos SA, Brazil’s second-biggest meatpacker.

Marfrig said today in a regulatory filing that it hadn’t been notified and that if the halt is confirmed it will export beef from other factories to Russia. Sao Paulo-based Marfrig’s shares ended the session 2.3 percent higher at 7.47 reais after sinking as much as 1.4 percent in intraday trading.

The press offices of Minerva, Brazil’s beef exporters’ association and Russia’s international commerce agency in Brasilia didn’t respond to phone calls and e-mail messages from Bloomberg News seeking comment. Marfrig’s press office declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Denyse Godoy in Sao Paulo at dgodoy2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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