Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt are today the main Arab buyers of the foodstuff produced by Estrela Alimentos, slaughterhouse located in the city of Estrela D’Oeste, in the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo.
Today, of the total exported by the company, 80% is directed to the countries of the Arab League.
Estrela produces pork and bovine meat and processed products. To the Arab world, they mostly export the bovine hindquarter cuts. The company follows strictly the halal procedures.
Sales, which started about five years ago, are made without intermediaries. The company participated in two trade fairs in the food sector this year, one in the United Arab Emirates and another in Egypt.
Last year, Estrela’s income was of US$ 630 million, of which US$ 225 million alone were exports. In October 2005, the company stopped exporting to Europe after the state of São Paulo was vetoed in the European market.
This happened because, in the second semester of 2005, there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, state in the midwestern region of the country, which shares borders with São Paulo.
The owner of the company, Etivaldo Vadão Gomes, was forced to close a unit in the state of Goiás. In spite of the not so favorable scenario, Dirce Gomes, exports manager at Estrela, tells that the company still receives many visits from Europeans, who do not wish to lose contact and will need the supply of Brazilian beef when the veto to the state of São Paulo is removed.
Exports represent 70% of the production of bovines, 50% of swine. The company is amongst the 250 greatest Brazilian companies in exports volume. In June 2005, before the foot and mouth disease crisis, the company was in the fifth position in the ranking of greatest beef exporters.
Estrela offers more than 50 cuts of beef, not counting the noble cuts, more than 30 cuts of pork and a variety of processed products like sausages, hamburgers and cooked ham. The company also has a leather tannery branch in the city of Araçatuba, also in São Paulo.
Estrela was founded by Etivaldo in 1979 as a warehouse for meats and meat products. A little after that, he set up a small slaughterhouse.
"To have an idea, in the beginning we slaughtered 15 steers per day. Today, its 3,000," tells Dirce, who is the sister of the president of the company and works with him since the beginning. Estrela Alimentos has three units, two in Estrela D’Oeste and one in Tupã, and employs 1,900 workers.
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