Page 10 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 10

Meat packing giant JBS bids for Australia’s Rivalea and global dominance
WHEN the world’s big- gest meat processing giant, Brazil’s JBS, pipped a large family- owned Australian busi- ness in a bidding war for one of the country’s largest pork producers, it blindsided the industry and became a lightning rod for food supply is- sues.
ment Review Board – will make JBS the biggest pork producer in the country.
“We’ve always been a strong supporter of the in- dependent family-owned farms in our industry and I think they should be very concerned about what the next five to 10 years could look like with a multinational entering our industry, which is an intensive farming space,” Mr Campbell said.
bid is believed to have been highly competitive and BE Campbell was sur- prised by the outcome.
significant in almost 50 years.
FIRB has the power to investigate whether the Rivalea tender process was conducted openly and transparently as part of its evaluation of the transac- tion.
would lessen competition. The ACCC approved the deal on the basis it was unlikely to raise sig- nificant competition con- cerns, but chairman Rod Sims said the commission was “wary of the potential impact of further consoli- dation of abattoirs” and would “continue to mon- itor this industry, and any future acquisitions will
The June 8 purchase of Rivalea for $175 million – subject to regulatory approval from the Aus- tralian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Invest-
BE Campbell chief ex- ecutive officer and co- founder Ted Campbell told the Australian Fi- nancial Review he shared industry concerns about the impact JBS’ purchase would have on the Aus- tralian pork industry, particularly in relation to competition.
Singapore’ s QAF ap- pointed Rabobank to lead the sale process more than a year ago.
Its Australian empire includes a vast network of processing, export and feedlot operations, as well as the largest small- goods manufacturer Primo Foods, Andrews Meat In- dustries, Tasman Group, Rockdale Beef and Aus- tralian Meat Holdings.
For instance, in 2017-18 FIRB made decisions on more than 11,000 pro- posals worth $163 billion, with $16.6 billion manu- facturing, electricity and gas assets.
The Rivalea deal is also subject to ACCC ap- proval.
face additional scrutiny.” There will undoubtedly be a lobbying on both sides, particularly as in- dustry concentration has become a hot political
Its dominance created disquiet in the industry and left rival Rivalea bidder BE Campbell “dis- appointed.”
In the past 15 years, JBS has been expanding its footprint in Australia to become the biggest meat and food producing op- erator in the country and a major supplier to super- markets.
The changes followed a dismal track record where FIRB became little more than a rubber stamp for foreign purchases, some with disastrous conse- quences.
Under FIRB guidelines, approval will not be given if “Australian investors were not offered an equal opportunity to invest in that land-entity through an open and transparent sale process.”
Campbell wouldn’t be drawn on the bidding pro- cess, but his company’s
Of all the submissions, only five were rejected.
The competition watchdog waved through previous acquisitions by JBS without a hitch.
Its biggest clanger was approval of the sale of the country’s biggest dairy farm Van Dairy to Chinese owners that were recently outed over animal welfare abuse claims and serious regulatory breaches due to overstocking of cattle that caused effluent systems to fail, damaging nearby wa- terways.
NFF welcomes new UK/Australia FTA
issue globally.
The recent global cyber-
It will be interesting to see how FIRB handles JBS’ Rivalea acquisition after an overhaul of Aus- tralia’s foreign investment rules earlier this year, which was heralded by the government as the most
The most high-profile was JBS’ purchase of Primo for $1.45 billion, which attracted a series of submissions from in- dustry participants in- cluding farmers and customers concerned it
attack on JBS amplified the dangers of too much industry concentration when it was forced to shut down sites, albeit for a few days.
The proposed deal is the first trade agreement reached by the UK fol- lowing its separation from the European Union last year and will guarantee tariff-free quota-free ac- cess to the UK market for all agricultural products, after phase-in periods of up to 15 years.
“Australian and UK farmers share a com- mitment to meeting the highest standards when it comes to caring for their land and their livestock, and that commitment shows in the quality of our produce,” Ms Simson said.
“The UK deal will create new opportunities for Australian farmers as we work towards growing industry output to $100 billion by 2030.”
“This is an issue we have championed for several years and while there have been tweaks and amend- ments to the visa regime, we simply must have a visa that is designed for the ag- riculture sector rather than the retro-fitted schemes we currently have.”
NFF president Fiona Simson said this was a
“UK customers will benefit from the increased availability of high-
“We are encouraged by the commitments to de- velopment of an agribusi- ness visa and a specific ag
However, the NFF has cautioned that action on a dedicated agriculture visa can no longer be delayed.
The ag visa must not only make up for the shortfall in backpacker farm labour but address the growing shortage of farm workers.
Adele Ferguson
First appeared in the Aus- tralian Financial Review.
AUSTRALIA’S National Farmers Federation has hailed the UK/Australia trade agreement as a new beginning.
significant leap forward in Australia’s market access and should be a new be- ginning in a relationship between two countries with a long history.
quality Australian prod- ucts on their supermarket shelves, alongside their homegrown options.
worker visa,” Ms Simson said.
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Page 10 – Australian Pork Newspaper, July 2021

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