Marfrig, a leading Brazilian meat industry group, acquired an abattoir in Tierra del Fuego belonging to a group of cattle farmers from Magallanes Region, reports La Prensa Austral from Punta Arenas. The operation involved US$ 8.5 million. "It's a common commercial operation; markets are solid and with so many plants competition is healthy and balanced," said Mario Vega president of the Magallanes Cattle farmers Association, Asogama.
The Patagonia abattoir is located in Porvenir and had been purchased several years ago for US$ 2.5 million by a group of local farmers to the Chilean System of government companies, SEP.
The Marfrig group has a network of nine abattoirs in Brazil and has recently expanded to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The Patagonia abattoir has a slaughter capacity of 300.000 heads per year.
Vega said that farmers should not be concerned because a "new partner with other expectations and views, can only be positive for the region."
Vega recalled that the situation is completely different to a few years ago when there was an only abattoir, Simunovic. "Now we have Patagonia and very soon Agromar, another abattoir belonging to a local family is expected to open".
The Magallanes Region's abattoirs of Simunovic and Patagonia both are certified to export lamb and mutton to the European Union, China and United States.
Patagonia, originally Sacor was tendered by the Chilean government in 2003/04 with a short list of four groups interested in the purchase. Finally it was the group of local farmers, under the name of Lanas y Carnes de Patagonia S.A., which took control of the plant in four consecutive payments.
La Prensa Austral points out that there's some controversy as to whether the Navarino Bill which promotes businesses and investments in the extreme regions of Chile, through different financial support mechanisms, is applicable to the Patagonia plant under new owners.