BRAZIL – JBS, one of the world’s leading processor, has unveiled ambitious plans to invest 15 billion reais (US$3 billion) to expand its meat operations in its home market, Brazil.

The investment which is set to be executed by 2026, is part of a broader program initiated by the parent company, J&F Group, and its investment arm, J&F Investimentos, both owned by the Batista family.

JBS CEO Gilberto Tomazoni disclosed the expansion plans during the inauguration of two value-added food production facilities in Rolândia, a city in the northern part of the Paraná state.

The expansion of the fresh meat and prepared foods projects was originally announced in 2021.

In addition, the investment is part of the initial 38 billion reais slated for various business areas, which will now increase to 50 billion reais if JBS proceeds with its dual listing in the United States which was announced in July aiming to add its stock-market.

JBS originally contemplated a New York listing in 2017 through its Netherlands-based overseas subsidiary, JBS Foods International.

However, these plans were postponed amid a corruption scandal involving the company’s controlling shareholder, J&F Investimentos, and two members of the Batista family who managed the investment firm.

The broader investment program also seeks to create 50,000 additional jobs by 2026, with 20,000 of these positions expected to be within JBS. The initial investment target for the meat division was 3 billion reais.

The two newly opened plants in Rolândia are situated on a 257,000 square-meter plot and employ 4,500 staff.

Additionally, it is expected to facilitate the expansion of the JBS Seara brand’s range of breaded chicken products and sausages.

Seara currently holds more than 30% of the breaded chicken market share, and with the new investments, it aims to increase its presence in the sausage market as well.

These new facilities have added 700 employees to the workforce, bringing the total number of employees at the industrial complex to 4,500.

The site has the potential for further expansion with seven additional breaded chicken lines and three sausage lines, which could increase the workforce to 6,000 employees in the future.

Shareholder Wesley Batista highlighted that the JBS Group is a significant employer, currently having 180,000 employees in Brazil and 280,000 employees worldwide, across 500 factories.

JBS reported a net loss of US$53.2 million for the second quarter in August, compared to a profit of $803.2 million in the same period the previous year.

This was largely attributed to lower sales in domestic operations, the pork division, Australian operations, and Pilgrim’s Pride, a US-based group in which JBS owns a majority stake.