- Brazil’s JBS SA may soon move forward to list its shares in the United States, CEO Gilberto Tomazoni told analysts in a story reported by Reuters. The pork and beef processor has been looking to list its shares in the U.S. since at least 2015.
- Tomazoni said the world’s largest meat packer is turning more attention toward this possibility now that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak appears to have passed, Reuters reported. “Now things are more under control. We have learned to deal with the challenges. We are again discussing the listing,” he said.
- Still, Tomazoni said a listing "cannot happen this year" because of the steps the company would have to go through to do it.
JBS, which has a major foothold in the U.S. through its own operations and chicken provider Pilgrim's Pride, has been targeting a listing of its shares in America for years. But the company, which is one of the largest beef producers in the U.S. and responsible for roughly a fifth of its pork, has had a lengthy list of challenges both internally and externally that have temporarily derailed it. It has repeatedly announced plans to move forward in the U.S. with an IPO, only to withdraw those efforts.
In its home country, the company has been tarnished by bribery, corruption and insider trading scandals. One of JBS' U.S. subsidiaries had to recall more than 12 million pounds of beef two years ago. And at least seven of the company's U.S. facilities closed for brief periods earlier this year after workers were found to have contracted the coronavirus.
A listing of its shares in the U.S. would be a major step forward for the company and Tomazoni, who has been viewed as an operations specialist. JBS would finally be able to clear a hurdle that has long dogged the company in its on-again, off-again IPO process, and show it is ready to move on from the recent challenges that have tarnished its image.
An IPO in the U.S. would presumably raise cash that the business could use to grow its operations, either internally or through acquisitions that have historically been a popular tool to build scale for the company.
JBS also will need to spend more to increase its presence in the competitive plant-based arena. In March, JBS announced its new Planterra Foods division, starting with its Ozo line of plant-based burgers, ground, Mexican-seasoned ground and Italian-style meatballs. Ozo competes against similar offerings from other meat and poultry companies, such as Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods, as well as from CPG companies such as Conagra Brands, Hormel Foods and Nestlé.
JBS said there are still several steps it needs to go through before a listing is even possible in the U.S., meaning the earliest an IPO could happen is 2021. With JBS struggling to get an IPO over the finish line for years, there is undoubtedly some degree of skepticism. In addition, with the coronavirus still impacting businesses in the U.S., there is no way to predict how the pandemic will impact JBS' operations going forward.