JBS S.A. announced July 13 that a federal court in Brazil has cleared the $300 million sale of its beef operations in South America to Minerva, reversing a June 21 ruling by a Brazilian judge that blocked the sale.
JBS said Brazil’s Regional Federal Court of the First Region issued a judicial injunction removing the restriction on the company to negotiate assets. The decision authorizes JBS "to continue the normal course of its business activities, to buy and also sell assets -- specifically, the totality of shares from its beef subsidiaries in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay -- to the Minerva Group,” the company said.
Additionally, JBS said Brazilian antitrust authorities (CADE) approved July 6 the transaction with Minerva without restrictions, although there is still a deadline for the decision to become definitive.
The sale to Minerva was just one portion of a series of divestments JBS recently announced to help reduce its debt as it reels from the financial impact resulting from certain scandals. The board of directors reviewed and approved in June a proposal to commence a 6 billion real ($1.8 million) divestment program to raise additional funds. When announced, JBS said the sale of assets included in the divestment program would be subject to the board's prior approval and the consent of the BNDESPar division of Brazil's development bank.
Assets involved in the divestment program included the sale of JBS's 19.2% shareholding interest in Vigor Alimentos S.A., the sale of its shareholding interest in Moy Park and the sale of the Five Rivers Cattle Feeding assets and farms. Five Rivers, the world's largest cattle feeding company, operates 12 feedyards in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Idaho and Alberta and markets more than 1.5 million head of cattle per year. Moy Park is one of the largest producers of organic, free-range and corn-fed poultry in Europe. Vigor Alimentos S.A. is the sixth-largest dairy company in Brazil.