SALIC ups stake in Brazilian meat company to boost Saudi food security

The food-focused subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s $300bn Public Investment Fund increased its 20% stake in Minerva Foods it purchased in 2016 to 33.8%.

The Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company has increased its stake in Brazilian meat producer Minerva, in a transaction it said reflects “eagerness to meet objectives set by the Kingdom’s food security program.”

State-owned SALIC increased its stake in Minerva from 20 percent to 33.83 percent. Financial details were not disclosed. The company acquired its initial stake for $188 million in 2016. SALIC said in a statement its most recent investment had the support of VDQ Holdings, which is controlled by Minerva’s founding family and maintains a 17.6 percent stake in the company.

Brazil stock exchange-listed Minerva was founded in 1992 and provides beef, leather and live cattle exports to customers in more than 100 countries. It operates a network of 25 slaughterhouses and three processing plants spread throughout South America with a combined daily slaughter capacity of 11,500 head of cattle.

Headquartered in the state of Sao Paulo, Minerva’s operational units are located throughout nine of Brazil’s states, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. The company also maintains commercial offices in Russia, Lebanon, Iran, Algeria, Italy, Chile, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and the US.

SALIC’s statement highlighted that Saudi Arabia imports about 70 percent of its 550,000-ton annual red meat demand, and that Minerva had already exported 750,000 tons of red meat to global markets this year.

SALIC was established by Saudi Arabia’s $300 billion Public Investment Fund in 2012 as a subsidiary company, with the aim of securing imports of key food commodities.

The company’s key ag-related investments have included Canada’s G3 Global Grain Group, in which it upped its stake to 75 percent in 2016. Bunge Canada holds a significant minority share in the joint venture.

Last year, SALIC purchased a 200,000-hectare cropping and grazing property in Western Australia for A$70 million ($50 million; €44 million), in its first investment in a country where a source told Agri Investor the company plans to invest “hundreds of millions.”

SALIC also entered the UK ag sector last year through its participation in a £7 million ($8.9 million; €7.9 million) funding round for Hummingbird Technologies, a London-headquartered startup that creates high-resolution maps of farms.

In 2018, a SALIC subsidiary acquired Mriya Agricultural Holding Company of Ukraine in a deal that reportedly valued the company and its 165,000-hectare land portfolio at $242 million. Mriya was one of two Ukrainian ag companies SALIC combined later that year to create Continental Farmers Group, which delivered its first cargo of wheat to Saudi Arabia in May.

Minerva declined to comment and SALIC did not reply to messages seeking further detail.