A Brazilian judge has blocked JBS SA’s planned sale of a South American unit while the attorney general’s office urged the company’s assets be frozen, in signs of fallout from a corruption probe involving the controlling shareholders of the world’s No. 1 meatpacker.
Federal Judge Ricardo Leite blocked JBS’s US$300 million sale of the unit to rival Minerva SA, citing a corruption scandal ensnaring JBS’s controlling Batista family, court documents seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday.
In a separate decision, the attorney general’s office urged state auditors to freeze assets of JBS and the Batistas, who own 42 per cent of JBS. The move guarantees that funds reimbursing state lender BNDES for faulty dealings with JBS will be preserved, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
Common shares in JBS surged 4.3 per cent, while those of Minerva reversed early gains on the judge’s decision. Minerva’s stock shed 2.7 per cent to 11.52 reais as of 4:20 p.m. local time.
Leite, the judge, sits on the court that will review a leniency deal the Batistas reached with prosecutors, and his decision highlights the legal risks for the meatpacker and its founding family.
Last month, Prosecutor-General Rodigo Janot reached a plea agreement with billionaire brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista to avoid prosecution if they turned in 1,893 politicians involved in a bribery scheme.
A separate leniency deal between the Batistas and federal prosecutors was signed on May 31, requiring the family to pay a 10.3 billion reais (C$4.1 billion) fine over 25 years.
The terms of the plea agreement have drawn intense scrutiny after the Batistas alleged that President Michel Temer took part in a bribery scheme, threatening to topple the president and sink his reform agenda.
Leite said in his ruling that the deal to sell JBS beef plants in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay could harm the corruption investigation.
In a separate statement Wednesday on the suspension of the beef plants’ sale to Minerva, JBS said it “will take the necessary legal measures in order to appeal the decision.”
By Lisandra Paraguassu and Cesar Raizer
Cargill will appoint Brian Sikes as its president and chief executive officer on 1 January 2023. The soon-to-be CEO, currently holding the chief operating officer title, has worked at Cargill for 31 years. Dave MacLennan, who has served as Cargill’s CEO since 2013, will assume the role of executive chair of the company’s board of directors.
Comforting colors, feel-good flavors, and unique food and beverage experiences will resonate most with consumers in the new year, according to ADM’s latest Flavor and Color Outlook. ADM anticipates that 2023 will be the year of self-expression, and the company identified four trends that are sure to stand out.
Nestlé’s Nespresso brand will pilot home-compostable coffee capsules on the Nespresso Original system in France and Switzerland from spring 2023 before further launches in several other European countries within a year. The paper-based capsules are touted as a breakthrough in packaging technology after three years of R&D.