Australia clears JBS bid for pork firm Primo

Sydney | Reuters — Australian regulators have approved a bid by the U.S. arm of Brazilian beef giant JBS to acquire Australian Consolidated Food Holdings Pty. Ltd. (Primo) for an undisclosed sum, Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Wednesday.

The approval by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), subject to conditions at Primo’s abattoir, allows the purchase by JBS USA Holdings Inc., through its wholly owned unit JBS Smallgoods HoldCo Australia Pty. Ltd., to move ahead.

Under Australian law, FIRB approval is required for any investment by a foreign firm in a domestic company that is worth more than A$252 million (C$244.7 million).

The merger of the world’s largest processer of fresh beef and pork, JBS, with Australia’s largest producer of ham, bacon and pork products comes as Australia has set a goal of becoming Asia’s food basket.

“The government welcomes foreign investment in Australia and continues to ensure that investments are consistent with Australia’s national interest,” Hockey said in a statement.

Reporting for Reuters by Matt Siegel.

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