Food giant BRF to acquire Kent-based meat firm

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

BRF acquiring Universal Meats would be a 'milestone' for the business, says Faria
BRF acquiring Universal Meats would be a 'milestone' for the business, says Faria

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The world’s seventh largest food company BRF is planning to boost its UK presence with a £34M acquisition of Kent-based Universal Meats, as part of its global expansion plans.

Negotiations are ongoing with Universal Meats, which manufactures chicken, duck, beef and tuna products for the foodservice market and has a turnover of more than £100M.

The Brazilian poultry processor is also eyeing acquisitions of Golden Foods Siam in Thailand and Eclipse Holding Cooperatief UA, the Dutch holding company for Campo Austral in Argentina as part of its ambition to see at least a quarter of its production take place outside of Brazil by 2020.

The three deals would build on a busy 24 months for BRF, which has seen the firm snap up 12 businesses worldwide.

The firm’s boss said the latest set of deals would be a milestone for the business.

‘Milestone in company’s history’

“This is a milestone in the company’s history and a clear message that our expansion plan is serious and consistent,”​ said BRF global ceo Pedro Faria.

The Golden Foods Siam deal will mark BRF’s first entrance into the Thai market. It is currently negotiating through its subsidiary German BRF GmbH to acquire control of one of the largest producers and exporters of processed foods in Thailand.

BRF in numbers

  • 96,000 employees
  • 35 industrial units in Brazil
  • 120 export countries
  • Nine plants abroad
  • Six in Argentina
  • One in UK
  • One in Netherlands
  • One in the United Arab Emirates

The $360M deal will enable BRF to diversify its global footprint, while also generating synergies across diverse markets in Europe and Asia, the firm claimed.

When the $85M acquisition was complete of Campo Austral it would help BRF become the second largest player in Argentina’s pork market.

In addition to physical assets, the operation involves renowned brands.

“We will become important players in the cooked ham, salami, bologna and pork cut categories,” ​said Faria.

European joint venture

Earlier this week, our sister title Food Manufacture​ reported that BRF was seeking a chilled food business in eastern Europe to enter into a joint venture​.

This deal was unlikely to include primary production facilities, BRF said.

In the past two years, BRF has intensified its global expansion process by forming joint ventures, opening sales offices and acquiring plants, brands and distributors.

A total of 12 major operations have been carried out: five in the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar), three in Asia (Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand), two in Europe (UK) and two in Latin America (Argentina).

BRF owns the brands Sadia, Perdigão and Qualy.

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