JBS plans U.S. listing as Brazil state bank sells stake


Sao Paulo | Reuters — Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA and state development bank BNDES are planning a simultaneous listing of JBS international operations in the United States and the sale of the bank’s stake in the company, five sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Sources close to the company say JBS is working on a transaction that is different from the one proposed in 2016.

The U.S. listing would be simultaneous with the partial or full sale of BNDES’ 21.3 per cent stake in JBS, two of the sources said.

The transaction model is not yet final, as discussions are ongoing. But JBS expects to spin off its international operations to be listed in New York as a separate company with the same shareholders, but not a subsidiary. Operations in Brazil will continue under JBS SA, currently listed at the Sao Paulo stock exchange.

Around 75 per cent of JBS’ revenue is obtained outside Brazil, mostly in the United States, but also in Australia and Europe.

JBS and BNDES declined to comment on the matter.

Last November, BNDES hired the investment banking units of Banco Bradesco SA, Banco BTG Pactual SA, Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Bank of America and UBS Group.

One of the sources said the company still expects to list in the United States in the second quarter of the year, but the roadshow dates are being pushed back by the volatility related to the coronavirus outbreak. JBS will report its fourth-quarter earnings on March 25.

JBS management would join BNDES executives in the roadshow to sell their stake, the sources added. The company will probably not hire a bank, but only lawyers, for the spin-off and listing of its international operations, according to two of the sources, since the company is not planning a primary offering.

A listing of JBS in the United States would face pressure from lobbyists and lawmakers that have recently demanded investigations about the company and its shareholders, brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista.

Among the international JBS operations previously proposed for inclusion in such a listing is the company’s Brooks, Alta. beef packing plant, one of Canada’s largest, with capacity to process up to 4,200 head of cattle per day.

— Reporting for Reuters by Tatiana Bautzer, Aluisio Alves and Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo.

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