J&F, the parent company of JBS SA, a leading global food processing company, announced significant investment plans in Saudi Arabia during a visit by a Brazilian government delegation, which included President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. This move is aimed at strengthening business ties between Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
Wesley Batista, a key member of the family that founded JBS, expressed the company’s growing interest in expanding its investments in Saudi Arabia. Speaking from Riyadh, Batista emphasized the company’s intention to make investments that are substantially more significant than previously considered.
J&F is a diversified conglomerate with interests spanning across various sectors, including food, mining, pulp, paper, and energy. Within its portfolio, JBS already operates a plant in Damman and is in the process of constructing another facility in Jeddah. The completion of the Jeddah unit will significantly enhance JBS’s production capabilities in Saudi Arabia, increasing its capacity to 40,000 metric tons of processed chicken products annually, a fourfold increase from current levels.
Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Middle East, is a vital trade partner for Brazil, particularly in the food sector. In 2022, bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $8 billion. Saudi Arabia’s strategic position and its efforts to diversify its economy make it an attractive market for Brazilian companies.
Brazil, renowned for being the world’s leading exporter of halal meats, adhering to Islamic dietary laws, has established itself as a global powerhouse in meat exportation. The country’s meat exporters are known for their efficiency and quality, contributing significantly to Brazil’s position in the global market.
However, JBS faces stiff competition in the Gulf region from other Brazilian meat exporters like BRF, Minerva, and Marfrig. These companies are also actively engaged in exporting their products to this region, creating a highly competitive market landscape.
Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment, highlighted the food sector as a primary area of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Brazil. Al-Falih expressed Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to achieve food security and establish itself as a global hub in the meat sector, aligning with its broader economic diversification and development goals.