(Adds Cargill comment)
SAO PAULO/CHICAGO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA has concluded its $1.45 billion acquisition of Cargill Inc’s U.S. pork assets without any restrictions from regulators, it said on Friday, making it one of the largest meat companies in the United States.
The deal closed on the earlier end of the forecast JBS gave in early July, when officials said they expected antitrust approval of the pork assets to clear within four to seven months. In August, JBS raised $1.2 billion in the syndicated loan market to help fund the acquisition.
The U.S. Justice Department on Friday declined to comment on the deal. JBS USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS SA, did not return requests for comment.
The deal includes Cargill’s two meat processing plants in Iowa and Illinois, as well as five feed mills in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa and Texas and four hog farms in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
The transition was already under way at the two plants in Beardstown, Illinois, and Ottumwa, Iowa.
While pork products were still shipping out of the plants to customers on Friday, both were shuttered for slaughtering hogs, Cargill spokesman Michael Martin said.
“The sale closed today and we’re in the process of that transition,” Martin said.
JBS USA is a leading processor of beef, pork and lamb, as well as a majority shareholder in chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.
By adding Cargill’s hog slaughter capacity, JBS USA becomes the second-largest pork packer in the country - just behind Smithfield Foods Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of China-based pork processor WH Group Ltd.
Industry data puts JBS USA as controlling about 22 percent of the U.S. beef market and about 18 percent of the U.S. poultry market, the second-largest player in both sectors behind Tyson Foods Inc. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer in Sao Paulo, Theopolis Waters and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Chris Reese, Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler)
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