Brazil-based company to buy Swift & Co.

by Keith Nunes
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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — J&F Participacoes S.A., which has a controlling interest in JBS S.A., Latin America’s largest beef processor, has entered into an agreement to acquire Swift & Co., Greeley, Colo., the U.S.’s third-largest beef and pork processing company. The transaction will include $225 million in cash and the assumption by J&F Participacoes of $1.2 billion in debt plus all transaction-related expenses. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and should be completed by July.

"We are thrilled to acquire Swift & Company, and to be able to create a combined enterprise that will be the world’s leading processor of fresh beef and pork products," said Joesley Mendonca Batista, a partner in J&F Participacoes and chief executive officer of JBS S.A. "It is a major step for our group in establishing a global presence. More importantly, Swift will provide us with access to the Pacific region."

This past January, the board of directors for Swift & Co. announced it was reviewing strategic and financial alternatives following a series of unsolicited inquiries from various entities.

"Nothing is more important to me and my colleagues on the Swift management team than seeing Swift remain the strong, stable, customer-focused company we are today," said Sam Rovit, president and c.e.o. of Swift & Co. "Joining J&F to become the world’s largest beef and pork processor, Swift should emerge even stronger, and that is good news for our partnership, customers, suppliers and employees."

In the U.S., Swift & Co.’s assets include four beef plants, three pork plants, a lamb processing facility, and a further processing plant. In Australia, the company owns four beef plants and four cattle feedlots. The company had sales of approximately $9 billion in 2006.

JBS S.A. has 21 facilities in Brazil and five plants in Argentina. The company had $1.9 billion in sales during fiscal 2006.

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