Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has welcomed the conditional approval by Treasurer Joe Hockey of JBS Australia’s $A1.45 billion acquisition of Australian Consolidated Food Holdings (Primo).

“This transaction will result in a business with the necessary scale and distribution networks to continue supporting our domestic market while at the same time increasing the exports of high-quality Australian products to global markets, and that means higher prices at the farm gate,” Mr Robb said.

JBS Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JBS USA Holdings Inc. which is in turn a subsidiary of JBS Brazil which is the world’s largest processor of beef and pork. Mr Robb met with the chief executive of JBS Brazil Wesley Batista during a visit to Latin America late last year.  

JBS in Australia employ 8,500 people with 12 processing facilities, 14 distribution centres and feed lots supplying both domestic and export markets under well-known brands such as King Island Beef and Great Southern Beef and Lamb. Importantly, JBS has a wide network of international sales offices.

Primo is Australia and New Zealand’s leading producer of ham, bacon and small goods in under brands such as Primo Quality Meats and Hunter Valley Quality Meats. The company employs more than 3,000 people and operates five plants, seven distribution centres and 37 retail outlets. The combined operations will employ around 12,000 people making it one of Australia’s leading food businesses.

“JBS and Primo will be well-equipped to more effectively compete in the key markets of Asia such as Korea, Japan and China. These export efforts will be boosted by the market access gains secured through our recently concluded trifecta of free trade agreements with these countries,” Mr Robb said.

“This proposal confirms Australia as a premier destination for high quality, value-added food manufacturing that is increasingly integrated into global supply chains. Australia has an enviable reputation for ‘clean, green and safe’ produce with JBS-Primo extremely well-placed to leverage this reputation through an extensive global distribution network,” he said.

“The acquisition is another vote of confidence in Australia by international investors, with new investment fundamental in supporting future growth. Attracting new investment into Australia’s areas of strength such as food and agribusiness is among the government’s top priorities,” Mr Robb said.

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