BRAZIL- The owner of the Purina pet food brand, Nestle, has denied recent unsubstantiated claims that it tabled 1.7bn reais (US$330.1m) for the purchase of Brazillian BRF pet-food assets.
A month ago, on February 28, 2023, BRF said in a stock-exchange announcement that it had hired Banco Santander as a financial advisor and was in early-stage discussions with would-be buyers for its pet-food arm.
BRF’s investment in pet food intensified in 2020, as the company set a target to triple its sales revenues over the next decade by focusing on areas such as plant-based proteins, ready meals, and pet food.
Becoming “one of the largest and most relevant players in the Brazilian pet food market by 2025” was part of the company’s overall corporate strategy for 2030.
In 2021, BRF acquired two Brazil-based pet food makers, Mogiana Alimentos, and Hercosul, and currently controls about 10% of the fast-growing Brazilian pet-food market with brands including Balance and Gran Plus.
While becoming a leading pet food processor was the plan for BRF, consecutive losses in the last four quarters and a 38.8% yearly fall forced the company to restrategize and change its goals.
Selling the pet food arm of the business was one of the strategies that the firm would use to mitigate its downward trend and streamline its operations.
Following the restructuring after the sale, BRF said it would focus on its main business of chicken, pork, and processed food.
Since the company did not disclose its would-be buyers, there were speculations over who these buyers would be. It also remains unclear what pet-food assets BRF has put up for sale.
Swiss giant, Nestlé insists that it has not made an offer for BRF’s pet-food business.
In the aforementioned stock exchange filing, BRF clarified that it had no intention of merging the company with Brazilian meat peer, Marfrig Global Foods, at the time.
The rumors about the merger were fueled by the fact that Marfrig is BRF’s biggest shareholder, with a stake of more than 30%, and that in March 2022, Marfrig founder Marcos Molina became BRF’s chairman and, in August, Marfrig CEO Miguel Gularte became BRF’s CEO.