Reuters: Brazil’s JBS shuts seven plants after $230 million asset freeze

The logo of Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA is seen in the unit in the city of Jundiai, Brazil June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

October 18, 2017

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA shut down its seven slaughterhouses in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul due to a court-ordered $230 million asset freeze, a press representative said on Wednesday.

The asset freeze, which affects JBS SA and the group’s holding company J&F Investimentos, is related to a tax matter in Mato Grosso do Sul.

Shares of JBS fell almost 2 percent to 8.12 reais in early afternoon trading at the São Paulo Stock Exchange following news of the plant closures.

The company, whose owners face corruption and insider trading charges, said a combined 730 million reais ($230.64 million) had been frozen by a lower court in the state.

In an emailed statement, the world’s largest meatpacking company said the plants will stay closed until the matter is resolved.

JBS said it is working to restore operations and maintain 15,000 direct and 60,000 indirect jobs in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. It will continue paying employees normally, the statement said.

Brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista, owners of JBS, were arrested last month in connection with insider trading and other offenses related to their plea deal.

Wesley, the elder of the brothers and also JBS’s former chief executive, quit as a result.