Marfrig Denies Report It’s in Sale Talks With Minerva, BRF

Marfrig Alimentos SA, Latin America’s second-largest beef producer, denied a report today that it’s planning to sell assets to Minerva SA and BRF SA.

The company isn’t negotiating the sale of Brazilian operations to Minerva or international holdings to BRF, according to an e-mailed statement. Veja magazine reported the talks in its Radar column, without saying where it obtained the information.

Agencia Ideal, a communications firm that represents Minerva, said the company doesn’t comment on speculation, while BRF didn’t immediately respond to e-mails and telephone calls.

Marfrig has been seeking to reduce its debt after it jumped sevenfold in the past five years to about 10 billion reais ($4.5 billion) as of March 31. In June, the Sao Paulo-based company agreed to sell its Seara poultry-and-pork unit for 5.85 billion reais. This week, Marfrig bought back $188 million of its bonds maturing in 2016 after it sold $400 million of 2021 bonds.

Marfrig has declined 26 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 7 percent drop for Minerva and a 34 percent gain for BRF.

The company also denied its debt is about 11 billion reais, as reported by Veja, saying the amount doesn’t take into account the sale of the Seara unit.

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