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Minerva sees increased US demand for beef amid COVID-19 closures

30 April 2020

Brazil's Minerva SA, the largest beef exporter in South America, aims to increase foreign sales amid supply woes in large beef producing nations like the United States.

According to reporting in Reuters, Minerva's Chief Financial Officer, Edison Ticle feels that closures of meat processing plants in the US due to coronavirus leave the Brazilian company poised to capitalise on stronger demand in the US and other key markets.

"We are already feeling the effect of plant closures in the US, with higher exports to the US and to countries which used to buy meat from the US, and now are coming to us," Ticle said in an interview.

He noted China had been boosting meat imports as it continues to grapple with fallout from African swine fever, a deadly pig disease that disrupted internal meat supplies starting in the second half of 2018.

Minerva derives 68 percent of sales in export markets and 32 percent in domestic markets, Ticle said, referring to the company's plants in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia, where it currently operates.

He did not provide a growth forecast for the company's exports in the coming weeks, but indicated that sales abroad at one point represented 80 percent of Minerva's overall business. 

Currently, Minerva accounts for about 20 percent of all beef shipped out of South America, Ticle said.

Minerva posted net profit of 271 million reais ($49 million) in the first quarter, reversing a loss of 31.4 million reais in the same period of 2019.

Net revenue rose 11.8 percent, to 4.16 billion reais ($757 million).

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