Beef is just one of the cornerstones of this food company. Keystone Foods is one of the largest makers of hamburger patties and processed poultry; it operates more than 50 distribution and processing centers located throughout the world. A major supplier to McDonald's restaurants, Keystone serves about 28,000 restaurants in a dozen countries with hamburgers, chicken wings, breast fillets, and chicken patties, as well as fish and pork products. Keystone also provides new product development services to its customers, as well as custom distribution and logistics services. The company, which began as a beef-boning business in the 1960s, is owned by Latin America's #2 beef producer Marfrig Alimentos.
Since buying Keystone for $1.2 billion in mid-2010, Marfrig has struggled. Among its challenges, its foreign beef business has slumped, hurt by hikes in beef prices stuck with soaring grain and fuel costs. To boost its profit margin and cash position, Marfrig is divesting non-core operations.
The Brazilian meatpacker and shipper in fall 2011 agreed to sell its US and European distribution unit for $400 million. The unit, part of Keystone, services the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It will be picked up by another McDonald's supplier, Reyes Holdings' Martin-Brower Co.
Going forward, Marfrig anticipates that Keystone will further its significant supply relationships with McDonald's, Subway, Yum! Brands, and other major US restaurant chains. In addition to McDonalds, Keystone holds accounts with ConAgra and Quiznos. The restaurant supplier is well-established; it was founded by Chicken McNuggets developer Herb Lotman.
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