Uruguayan ranchers fear ‘monopoly conditions’ as Brazilian companies control most of the beef industry
The giant Brazilian protein producer, Minerva Foods, issued a note to the market announcing the purchase of the state-of-the-art slaughterhouse and processing plant from Breeders and Packers Uruguay (BPU Meat) for USD 40 million. The conclusion of the agreement is still pending approval by the Uruguayan authorities.
BPU is a subsidiary of the NH Foods Group, headquartered near the city of Durazno, in central Uruguay, and is one of the most modern meat packing plants in Uruguay and South America.
The unit purchased by Minerva has a slaughter capacity of 1,200 bovines per day thanks to its state-of-the-art technology, which guarantees the highest quality and safety standards for the meat produced and exported in Uruguay.
“The Uruguayan meatpacking company allocates approximately 85% of its sales to the international market, particularly to high-income destinations that demand premium products, and must comply with the strictest sanitary conditions, such as Europe, the United States, Japan, South Korea and China. ”, explains the market statement published on January 31.
The overall deal is surprising, however, as about 70% of Uruguay’s meat processing operations will now be solidly controlled by Brazilian giants Minerva and Marfrig, and producer associations fear collusion in as far as cattle prices are concerned.
Indeed, Minerva Foods is now the leader in beef production in Uruguay thanks to its most recent acquisition, with a total slaughter capacity of 3,700 head of cattle per day, distributed in four processing plants: PUL, Carrasco, Canelones and, now BPU.
Uruguay is currently one of the world’s largest exporters of premium beef, representing approximately 5% of the market. The country is recognized worldwide for the tradition and quality of its products, as well as for its access to important consumer markets, due to decades of policy of imposition and implementation of strict sanitary conditions.