The South American region will account for 50% of global beef exports in five years, up from 40% presently, according to beefpacker Minerva's Chief Executive Fernando Queiroz, who spoke at an event hosted by the company.
Minerva, which bought plants from competitor Marfrig to boost its presence in South American countries this year, believes processing grass-fed cattle, a system that predominates in the region, is a competitive advantage for firms that operate here.
South America also boasts lower labour costs compared to countries like the United States, Queiroz said of the world's biggest beef producing nation, where Marfrig itself and rival JBS SA own production facilities.
Minerva has made 20 acquisitions over the last 15 years, seeking to be a relevant player in countries like Brazil, the world's biggest beef exporter, as well as in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
'The Best Global Platform'
"We have the best global platform to mitigate risks," Queiroz said, referring to the current low cattle availability in the US that is affecting rival companies there.
The move is expected to boost Minerva's slaughter capacity by around 44%, to more than 42,000 heads per day, according to company disclosures.
Out of the total, 11 cattle and lamb slaughter and deboning plants are located in Brazil, three in Uruguay, one in Argentina, and one in Chile.
Minerva Foods has secured a firm financial commitment from JP Morgan Bank for the amount related to the remaining installments.
News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM.