October 26, 2021


JBS Australia obtains approval to buy over Huon Aquaculture


Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has approved JBS Australia's venture into salmon production through its proposed purchase of Huon Aquaculture.


JBS Australia welcomed FIRB's decision that the Commonwealth had no objection to the proposed acquisition.


Mining magnate Twiggy Forrest, who was also looking to buy the Huon business, earlier raised questions about JBS's animal welfare and environmental credentials over the deal.


In its statement, JBS said it had a strong track record of investing in and growing Australian businesses, local jobs and exports.


"We employ more than 11,000 Australians, many of whom live and work in regional and rural towns and communities. We have grown all of the businesses we have acquired in Australia and JBS is committed to doing the same with Huon," the company said.


"JBS is committed to Huon, its employees, the local Tasmanian community and the broader principles of environmental sustainability, animal welfare, safety and social responsibility," JBS Australia chief executive Brent Eastwood said.


"(Huon founders) Peter and Frances Bender along with their team have built an amazing business and our aim is to build off this strong foundation.


"JBS has the commercial relationships and the ability to open up and access new markets which, combined with the Huon team's knowledge and expertise, create a fantastic opportunity to take this business forward."


JBS said it believed its $3.85 per share offer was "an attractive opportunity" for Huon shareholders, representing a material premium to recent historical trading prices of Huon shares.


Huon shareholders will vote at a scheme meeting on October 29, after which JBS said it would actively engage with key government, business and community stakeholders and the Huon team and its customers.


Speaking during a recent investor briefing, JBS global chief executive Gilberto Tomazoni told analysts the company's ambition was to become a globally-significant player in the salmon aquaculture industry, just as it now was in beef, pork and chicken.


JBS's investment in salmon production in Australia would provide a platform for new growth beyond the company's existing red and white meat businesses, analysts were told.


- Beef Central