JBS backs away from Sara Lee banking on rebound in meat sales
The talks to acquire Sara Lee broke down earlier this year, as the company’s stock surged from $13 a share in September to over $18 now.
“Sara Lee became too expensive,” said CEO Wesley Batista said in an interview. He added that the company is not actively seeking any acquisitions, but is “open to opportunities.”
The U.S. is gaining market share of beef, pork and poultry exports as labor, raw-material and other costs surge in Brazil, Russia and other emerging markets, Batista said. U.S. poultry, beef and pork prices will increase “significantly” by year-end as overseas demand rises, he said.
“For the first time in more than a hundred years, beef production costs in the U.S. are the same as those in Brazil,” Batista said at the Bloomberg office in Sao Paulo. “A weak dollar is boosting U.S. exports and transforming the country into a very competitive protein player.”