Asian Markets

Brazil's BRF wants to keep Qatar group as partner in TBQ Foods -CFO

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A logo of Brazilian meatpacker BRF SA is seen in the headquarters in Curitiba, Brazil October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Rodolfo Buhrer

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SAO PAULO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Brazilian food processor BRF (BRFS3.SA) wants to persuade the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to remain a partner in TBQ Foods and maintain its 40% stake in the company, according to a BRF executive.

TBQ controls Turkey's leading poultry processor, Banvit, which sells halal foods that are made according to Muslim dietary requirements.

In a brief telephone interview on Tuesday, BRF Chief Financial Officer Carlos Moura said a put option for QIA's stake in TBQ would make BRF have to pay about 468 million reais ($83.80 million) for the stake, based on third-quarter financial information. BRF currently owns 60% of TBQ.

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"It is a privilege for a company to have a sovereign investment fund as a partner," Moura said.

"They are excellent associates and have been helping us to expand the company," Moura noted, referring to Banvit, which is controlled by TBQ through a 91% stake.

BRF became a partner of the Qatar Investment Authority and a shareholder of Banvit in 2017, aiming to boost its halal food business and own production facilities outside Brazil.

The executive said that BRF has enough cash on hand to pay for the stake if QIA decides to quit the investment, addingthat such a move would have minimum impact on debt metrics.

He declined to discuss whether QIA would agree with keeping a smaller stake in TBQ or any other arrangement as the details of the ongoing negotiations are confidential.

In a securities filing earlier in the day, BRF said QIA agreed to extend the deadline to eventually exercise the put option related to TBQ to Dec. 15.

($1 = 5.5850 reais)

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Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by David Gregorio and Nick Macfie

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