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Meat Companies Struggle as Exports Fall

by 5m Editor
4 March 2009, at 10:58am

BRAZIL - Poultry meat exports are falling, and most meat companies' values are dropping on the stock market.

Bloomberg reports that the share price of Perdigão SA – Brazil's biggest food company – fell to its lowest in a year in São Paulo trading after the country's poultry exports dropped in February.

Perdigão slid 4.3 per cent to 26.50 real (BRR). Perdigão, which depended on poultry exports for 23 per cent of third-quarter revenue, earlier dropped to as low as BRR 26.23, the lowest intra-day price since 8 October.

Brazilian poultry exports fell 13 per cent from the previous month to $294 million, with volumes dropping 5.3 percent to 231,500 tons, the Foreign Trade Secretariat said on its Web site. Beef export values rose 10 percent, while the value of pork exports jumped 29 percent from the previous month.

Poultry exports "presented the worst performance among the three proteins, with reductions on both exported volumes and prices," Citigroup Inc. analyst, Carlos Albano writes. "It is still too soon to become more optimistic about Brazilian meat exports."

Perdigão rival Sadia SA – Brazil's second-biggest food company – gained 1.1 per cent to BRR 2.75. Based in Concordia, Sadia is down 72 per cent in the past 12 months after reporting a BRR 544.5 million ($225 million) write-down for the third quarter on bad currency bets. Perdigão has dropped 36 per cent, while the benchmark Bovespa Index is down 43 per cent.

JBS SA, the world's biggest beef producer, gained 1.1 per cent to BRR 4.55.

Downward trend

The Bloomberg report continues that the price of beef, which dropped 5.4 per cent from January, according to Secex, "maintained its downward trend, although at a lower intensity when compared to previous months," Mr Albano wrote.

The drop in beef prices and exports forced closely held Independencia SA, a Brazilian beef processor, to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors in the US, chief financial officer, Tobias Bremer, said in court papers filed on 27 February. Brazilian beef exports have dropped about 34 per cent by volume since 30 September, he said.

Marfrig Frigorificos e Comercio de Alimentos SA, Brazil's second-biggest beef producer, fell 1.3 per cent to BRR 6.70. Smaller rival, Minerva SA, gained 0.6 per cent to BRR 1.72.