The Australian arm of the giant Brazilian food processor JBS has signed a $1.45 billion conditional agreement to buy Australia’s largest ham, bacon and smallgoods producer, Primo.
Primo owns brands Primo Smallgoods and Hans, and New Zealand’s biggest smallgoods producer Premier Beehive, with five key processing plants in Australia and NZ, and more than 4000 employees. Its most recent addition is the nation’s largest food manufacturing facility, a $131 million 40,000 sq metre, plant in Wacol, Queensland. Three years ago, Asia-Pacific-based private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners acquired 70% of the family-owned company, which began in 1985.
JBS Australia is the country’s biggest meat processor and the sale looks set to expand Primo’s export push into Asia, including China.
Primo CEO Paul Hitchcock said the company was keen to capitalise on JBS’s international distribution network and Affinity’s Brett Sutton said the sale will facilitate the next phase of growth, saying JBS was “the logical owner of Primo”.
“Paul Lederer, his family and employees built an iconic Australian business and brand and we have been honoured to have been part of Primo’s journey. Affinity’s investment and knowledge of regional markets has helped to make the business even stronger with a growing export operation,” Sutton said.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
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