(Adds details from filing, background)
By Paula Arend Laier
SAO PAULO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Brazil’s BRF SA has launched a unit focused on the Muslim processed foods market, underscoring efforts by the world’s No. 1 poultry exporter to gain market share in the oil-rich Middle East.
In a Wednesday securities filing, BRF said the Dubai-based unit has been renamed One Foods Holdings Ltd, from Sadia Halal, with the goal of building market share in the region.
The board of BRF in June approved the creation of One Foods, which was launched earlier this week. In November, BRF said it had hired banks to help bring investors into One Foods, which operates 10 plants and has 15,000 employees.
According to BRF, One Foods controls 45 percent of the poultry market in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. For years, BRF’s predecessors Sadia SA and Perdigão SA sold their products to Middle Eastern countries, which observe strict animal slaughtering and handling techniques.
“This will put our company closer to local consumers,” the filing quoted BRF Chief Executive Pedro Faria as saying.
The creation of One Foods underscores BRF’s wish to grow in a buoyant market. The so-called halal meat industry market, which complies with Muslim religious dietary rules, could be worth about $60 billion by the end of this decade, analysts said.
According to the filing, Patricio Rohner will become the CEO of One Foods. Rohner was previously BRF’s head of business for the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Shares of São Paulo-based BRF fell 1.2 percent to 48.91 reais on Wednesday. (Reporting by Paula Arend Laier, writing by Tatiana Bautzer; editing by Dan Grebler and Richard Chang)