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JBS plans U.S. IPO for international unit

Sao Paulo | Reuters –– Brazilian food maker JBS SA, the world’s largest beef processor, plans to launch shares of its subsidiary JBS Foods International B.V. in the U.S. in the first half of 2017 as a part of a larger reorganization, the company said on Monday.

Under the plan, the unit currently based in the Netherlands would be responsible for managing all of the company’s international operations, with parent company JBS SA maintaining management of beef operations in Brazil.

It is the second time JBS SA has tried to reorganize its operations by moving management of international businesses to another country. The company scrapped a plan to move its headquarters to Ireland in October after opposition from BNDES Participacoes SA, the investment arm of Brazil’s development bank, who is a major shareholder.

JBS said Wesley Batista would be the chairman at JBS Foods International, with Gilberto Tomazoni, who has held several positions in the company’s administration for the last four years, taking the post of CEO. The unit would also manage the large Brazil-based food processing subsidiary Seara Alimentos.

“The company believes the new proposed structure and the IPO plan will reflect its global production platform, its product portfolio and the large international client base,” the firm in a filing to the Brazilian market regulator.

Batista, currently CEO of JBS SA, said at the time of the unsuccessful headquarter move to Ireland that the company had other options to change its structure, including a possible U.S. listing.

JBS said it planned to conclude the share offering in the first semester of 2017 but had yet to define how many shares it would offer and at what price.

The company is expected to give more details regarding the reorganization during a call with investors and analysts on Tuesday.

JBS currently manages more than 200 production facilities around the world, marketing products under brands such as Swift, Friboi, Seara, Pilgrim’s Pride, Gold Kist Farms, Pierce, 1855, Primo and Beehive.

Its Canadian assets include one of the country’s biggest beef packing plants — the former XL Lakeside plant at Brooks, Alta., with capacity to process about 4,000 head of cattle per day — and a cattle feeding operation nearby.

The company reported total revenues of 163 billion reais in 2015 (C$63.2 billion).

— Marcelo Teixeira is a Reuters correspondent based in Sao Paulo.

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