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Brazil's JBS expands into plant-based protein with Vivera acquisition

21 April 2021

JBS has purchased Vivera, Europe’s third-largest plant-based protein producer for €341 million, to appeal to those who want to eat less meat.

JBS, the world’s largest protein company and second-largest food producer, has entered into an agreement to purchase Vivera, Europe’s third-largest plant-based food company, for an enterprise value of €341 million. 

The acquisition of Vivera strengthens and boosts JBS’ global plant-based food platform. Strong growth is expected in this category throughout global markets. The deal will add a brand to JBS’ portfolio that is well- established in consumer preference, strengthening the company’s focus on value-added products.

JBS shares were up 4% on the afternoon of 19 April as analysts cheered the meatpacker’s move into the fast-growing, value-added vegetarian sector. JBS “is back in M&A mode,” BTG Pactual wrote in a client note, highlighting that the company has now announced six acquisitions in the last two years.

Vivera, currently the largest independent plant-based company in Europe, will join other JBS initiatives such as Seara’s Incrível line, a market leader in plant-based hamburgers in Brazil, and Planterra, with the OZO brand in the United States.

Vivera has a portfolio of 50 products with three production facilities and a research and development facility in the Netherlands. The company sells in the Dutch, German and UK markets, accounting for roughly 60% of Europe’s plant-based protein market, as well as other countries, according to JBS.

“This acquisition is an important step to strengthen our global plant-based protein platform,” said Gilberto Tomazoni, global CEO, JBS. “Vivera will give JBS a stronghold in the plant-based sector, with technological knowledge and capacity for innovation.”

“It’s a growing segment globally...we will be a relevant player in this sector,” Tomazoni said in an interview. “The acquisition makes strategic sense, to greatly accelerate our strategy in the plant-based segment.”

Vivera has $100 million in annual revenue, which makes it the third largest plant-based protein company in Europe, Tomazoni said. That compares to JBS’ 2020 net revenue of 270 billion reais ($48.33 billion), mostly derived from the North American market.

Vivera has grown about 25-30% annually in recent years, Tomazoni said.

To nurture its entrepreneurial spirit, JBS plans to manage Vivera as a standalone business unit with its current leadership team to remain in place.

“Joining forces with JBS gives us access to significant resources and capabilities to accelerate our current strong growth trajectory and Vivera brand expansion,” said Willem van Weede, CEO, Vivera.

The deal was approved by the JBS board of directors and will be concluded after approval by antitrust authorities.

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