Regulators to Block Marfrig / Minerva Deal

Minerva, Marfrig Deny Receiving Competition Regulator’s Plan to Block Deal

Minerva Foods and Marfrig have both denied receiving any communication from the Uruguayan competition watchdog indicating an intention to block a deal between the two meat groups. This announcement follows reports from Uruguayan publication Telenoche, which claimed that the local competition regulator, La Comisión de Promoción y Defensa de la Competencia (CPDC), had decided to halt the purchase.

Background of the Deal

In 2023, Minerva Foods agreed to acquire cattle slaughtering and deboning plants from Marfrig for 7.5 billion reais ($1.53 billion). These assets are located in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. Minerva planned to enhance its operational capacity significantly through this acquisition, which included three plants in Uruguay. The deal was part of Minerva’s strategy to diversify geographically and expand its footprint in South America.

Reported Regulatory Block

According to Telenoche, the CPDC blocked the deal during the second stage of the approval process, citing potential unfair advantages that could harm other beef processors in Uruguay. This move was reportedly taken on May 16, 2024. The regulator’s decision has raised concerns about the future of the acquisition and its impact on the competitive landscape of the beef processing industry in the region.

Companies’ Response

In identical statements released on May 17, 2024, Minerva and Marfrig asserted that they had not received any formal decision from CPDC regarding the matter. They emphasized their commitment to transparency and regulatory compliance, stating:

“The company reiterates its commitment to, in accordance with applicable regulations, keeping its shareholders and the market in general informed about any act or relevant fact related to the matter and remains available to provide any additional clarifications that may be necessary.”

This response highlights the companies’ intent to maintain open communication with shareholders and the market while complying with regulatory requirements.

Strategic Importance of the Deal

The acquisition was designed to increase Minerva’s cattle slaughtering and deboning capacity by 44%, bringing it to a total of 42,439 head per day. Minerva’s CEO, Fernando Queiroz, expressed enthusiasm about the strategic benefits of the deal when it was announced, stating:

“We are very excited about this move, which is in line with our geographical diversification strategy, and which uniquely complements our operation in South America, which is one of the most competitive markets in the world. This will take our company to another level, give us access to new international clients, maximise commercial opportunities and operational synergies, reduce risks, and expand our ability to compete in the international animal protein market.”

Next Steps

Following the CPDC’s reported decision, Minerva and Marfrig now have a ten-day period to present their defenses. A final ruling from the regulator is expected next week, according to another Uruguayan publication, Ámbito. The companies are preparing to provide any additional information and clarifications required by the regulatory authorities.

The outcome of this regulatory review is crucial for both Minerva and Marfrig. While they have not yet received official communication from CPDC, they remain vigilant and committed to ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations. The companies are ready to address any concerns raised by the competition watchdog and to adjust their strategies accordingly.

Industry Implications

The decision by CPDC, if confirmed, could have significant implications for the beef processing industry in Uruguay and potentially in the broader South American market. The acquisition would have bolstered Minerva’s position in the market, potentially altering competitive dynamics. The regulatory scrutiny reflects the importance of maintaining a balanced competitive environment and preventing monopolistic practices that could disadvantage smaller players in the industry.

Conclusion

Minerva Foods and Marfrig are currently navigating a critical phase in their acquisition process. The reported decision by CPDC to block the deal underscores the complexities of regulatory approvals in significant mergers and acquisitions within the meat processing industry. As the companies prepare their defenses, the market remains attentive to the final ruling, which will shape the future trajectory of Minerva’s expansion plans.

Both Minerva and Marfrig have reiterated their commitment to transparency and regulatory adherence, signaling their readiness to comply with any outcomes from the competition watchdog’s review. Stakeholders will be closely monitoring the situation, awaiting further developments that will determine the next steps for these major players in the animal protein market.

Read: Marfrig Returns to Profitability in Fourth Quarter

Read: Minerva Foods Reports Decline in Revenue for Full 2023 Fiscal Year

Source: Just-Food

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