Brazil meatpacker Aurora boosts poultry processing, eyes stronger China sales

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil’s third-largest meat processor, Cooperativa Central Aurora Alimentos, plans to expand chicken processing and maintain the size of pork operations as it seeks to boost sales to markets such as China, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

CEO Neivor Canton said in an interview with Reuters that Aurora, a privately held company competing with Brazil-based heavyweights JBS SA and BRF SA, wants to expand its poultry capacity by 20% in two years and will invest 500 million reais ($93 million) in 2021 to achieve that goal.

Aurora processes about 6,000 tonnes of animal protein daily and exports about a third of that, the executive said.

The company, which posted record operating sales in 2020 on the back of strong exports, is investing this year in the hopes of strengthening trade ties with China, which has relied more on Brazilian meat imports as it grapples with African Swine Fever.

To increase export sales, Aurora is currently seeking three new export permits from China, including two for chicken facilities in the state of Santa Catarina and one for a pork plant in Mato Grosso do Sul, Canton said.

($1 = 5.40 reais)

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Macfie