March 14, 2012 / 1:02 PM / 6 years ago

JBS ups Pilgrim's Pride stake to 75 percent

* Brazilian meatpacker now holds 75 pct stake

* JBS highlights confidence in U.S. chicken market

SAO PAULO, March 14 (Reuters) - Brazil’s JBS SA , the world’s biggest beef processor, raised its stake in affiliate Pilgrim’s Pride Corp by $107.2 million, strengthening its bet on a United States chicken market struggling with rising feed costs.

JBS said it purchased the remaining stock belonging to founder Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim at roughly $5.69 per share, according to securities filing on Wednesday, raising its stake in Pilgrim’s Pride from 68 percent to 75.3 percent.

“This acquisition represents another show of confidence in the U.S. chicken sector. With low costs and growing exports from that country, JBS believes there is great potential to raise margins,” Jeremiah O‘Callaghan, head of investor relations said in a statement.

Pilgrim’s Pride, the second biggest poultry producer in the United States, lost nearly $500 million last year as it struggled with rising feed costs and weak chicken prices.

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