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World’s largest poultry exporter still struggling

The world’s largest exporter of poultry meat – Brazil’s BRF – which has suffered a massive turnaround in fortunes is unlikely to recover its position for another two years.

BRF’s chief executive officer Pedro Parente said that one of his current largest challenges was to “manage investors expectations”.

Mr Parente, who was brought in from his former role as chief executive officer at state-run oil giant Petrobras to design and implement a turnaround plan following food safety and corruption scandals, said he hoped to reduce industrial costs by 30% over the next year.

Speaking to Reuters, Mr Parente said: “I’m not using shortcuts, and I’m not interested in showing good quarter numbers if they are not sustainable.”

He said the key to recovery would be the Brazilian domestic market, which he felt should be the company’s backbone to sustainable profitable operations. A vital segment here is the food service sector, where the company had been losing market share.

On the international front, he spoke of his concern about the plans by the president elect Jair Bolsonaro to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. BRF and other Brazilian food processors have taken a good percentage of the halal meat exports to Muslim nations in recent years.

Meanwhile, Brazilian prosecutors are nearly ready to make an announcement on BRF corruption charges, with authorities expecting to make an announcement in the next few weeks. The investigation started last year and has looked at the relationship between food processors, agriculture ministry health inspectors and laboratories involved in certification of meat sold domestically and to international markets, including Europe, China and the Middle East.

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