JBS posted a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss of BRL 1.45 billion (approx. $290.2 million), with CEO Gilberto Tomazoni citing factors such as high input costs, persistent inflation, and supply and demand imbalances, as well as the period being traditionally weaker for the global protein industry, impacting performance in all units.
One of the units Tomazoni sees recovering faster is Brazil's food processing company Seara, citing operating adjustments and lower corn prices as likely improving margins for the processed food division in the short term. In April, the owner of Pilgrim’s and Swift invested $200 million into Seara—the largest it has made in the company since it acquired it in 2013—to build a new breaded chicken plant in Rolândia, Brazil. The 580,000-sq.-ft. facility is Seara´s most automated plant and one of JBS’ most modern.
In October, JBS USA announced plans to shutter its plant-based meat operation, Planterra Foods, just two years after launching. The company says it took the decision to close the Colorado-based venture as it prioritized focusing its efforts on its plant-based operations in Brazil and Europe, which have continued to gain market share and expand their respective customer bases.
In January JBS USA—under its subsidiary Swift Prepared Foods—began operation of its first Italian specialty meats plant in North America, located in Columbia, Mo. The 325,000-sq.-ft. facility is the result of a $200 million investment and aligns with the company´s strategy of adding value to its portfolio of products.
Under its subsidiary BioTech Foods, JBS began construction of its first commercial-scale plant to produce cell-based meat, scheduled for completion in mid-2024. The factory, which JBS says will be the “world’s largest” cell-based meat plant, will have the capacity to produce more than 1,000 metric tons of cell-based beef per year, potentially increasing to 4,000 metric tons per year in the medium term.
Last month, JBS’s Australian subsidiary, Rivalea, invested more than AUD 20 million (approx. $13.7 million) in its pork processing facility in Corowa, Australia, in a bid to improve and strengthen its operations. The funds will be used to upgrade the company’s site and processing facilities, as well as to support Rivalea’s growth across fresh and value-added pork products that are supplied to Australian consumers and key export partners.
In the same week, the food giant reopened its dormant Friboi beef processing plant located in Juara in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. The plant—which was closed at the end of 2021 due to operational challenges—has a processing capacity of 700 heads of cattle, and its logistical positioning guarantees access to important producing regions. The news came after JBS announced plans to triple production at its Friboi factory in Diamantino, Mato Grosso, after production was halted due to a fire. Plans to recover and modernize the unit, which are the result of a $167 million investment, are part of JBS’ commitment to contribute to local economic development.
CEO: Gilberto Tomazoni
CFO and investor relations officer: Guilherme Perboyre Cavalcanti
Global chief ethics and compliance officer: Michael Koenig
CEO, JBS Foods USA: Tim Schellpeper
CEO, Pilgrim’s: Fabio Sandri
RANKING (LAST FIVE YEARS):
Total sales, local currency (bn): 375
Total sales, $bn: 78.06