Carnivores have a friend in JBS, the world's largest processor of animal protein. Beef is the company's top product, with major operations in Brazil, as well as the US, Canada, and Australia. it is also a significant producer of pork, poultry, and lamb. In addition to fresh and processed meat, JBS offers cooked and canned meats, ready-to-eat meals, as well as hides and dairy products. Its brands include Seara, Pilgrims's, 1855, Primo, Moy Park, Swith, and Friboi. The company operates worldwide, with the US accounting for more than half of sales. Members of the Batista family are controlling shareholders of JBS through J&F Investments.
JBS operates through five primary divisions: JBS USA Beef, JBS Brazil, Pilgrim's Pride, JBS USA Pork, and Seara.
JBS USA Beef, the company's largest segment with 40% of sales, includes (unsurprisingly) beef, lamb, and related operations in the US, as well as Canada and Australia. US-focused segments Pilgrim's Pride (about 20% of sales) and USA Pork (more than 10%) are involved in poutry and pork processing, respectively. JBS owns nearly 80% of Pilgrim's Pride.
The company generates about 15% of sales from beef and related products in Brazil through the JBS Brazil segment. Seara, about 10% of sales, provides poultry and pork processing in Brazil.
Brazil-based JBS has production facilities and sales offices in about 20 countries through which it serves customers in more than 150 countries. North America accounts for about 60% of sales (with the US alone contributing more than 50%). South America, led by Brazil, accounts for some 15%, followed by Asia (about 15%), Eruope (5%), Australia and New Zealand (nearly 5%), and Africa and the Middle East. The company's geographic diversification is allowing it to withstand a weak environment in its home country of Brazil.
JBS saw strong growth between 2013 and 2016 with revenue jumping more than 80% during that time. After a year of scandal, revenue fell slightly in 2017.
JBS reported revenue of R$163 billion (about $51.5 billion) in 2017, down about 4% from the prior year amid multiple divestments. The company's Brazilian operations both reported lower sales (particularly JBS Brazil) as the US operations all reported growth.
JBS's controlling shareholders, Wesley and Joesley Batista, have been caught up in multiple legal issues, including bribery and insider trading. In 2017 the brothers' investment company, J&F Investments, agreed to a $3.2 billion fine related to the government bribery scandal in Brazil; both Batistas eventually left their positions at JBS and both served jail time in relation to insider trading charges. During this period, JBS was also the target of a probe by the Brazilian federal police for selling rotten and otherwise tainted meat, which resulted in the US and other countries temporarily banning Brazilian beef imports.
Amid the chaos and scandal, JBS naturally took some hits. It was forced to put a corporate restructuring on hold and delay plans to take its US operations public. The company also began streamlining its operations to repay some debt and focus on core growth areas. In 2017 and 2018 it divested holdings in beef subsidiaries in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, as well as its nearly 20% stake in Brazilian dairy company Vigor Alimentos and the Five Rivers Cattle farm and feedlot in Canada. It also sold European poultry company Moy Park to its majority-owed US subsidiary Pilgrim's Pride for about $1 billion. In addition, because of these issues, JBS has been investing in compliance, food quality and safety, innovation, and global sourcing.
In the meantime, the company continues to focus on its more traditional strategic growth areas of brand and product mix enhancement and exploiting its product and geographic market leadership positions.
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