(Adds comments from conference call, background on OneFoods unit)
By Ana Mano
SAO PAULO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Brazilian food processor BRF SA sees cost savings and other efficiencies from its investment in a Turkish poultry producer reaching up to $180 million, its chief executive officer said on Tuesday.
CEO Pedro Faria said on a conference call that the investment in Banvit Bandirma Vitaminli Yem Sanayii AS will give BRF’s OneFoods halal meat unit a roughly 40 percent share of the Middle East market.
BRF will take a 60 percent stake in the Banvit venture and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) will take 40 percent, according to a securities filing on Monday.
The venture, announced soon after the creation of BRF’s Dubai-based OneFoods Holdings Ltd, underscores its plan to establish a strong foothold in the Middle East. The market for halal meat, which follows Muslim dietary rules, could grow to $60 billion by 2020, say analysts.
Reuters reported last week that BRF plans to raise about $1.5 billion from listing 20 percent of OneFoods in London by late March or early April.
Banvit is “a first step to accelerate growth in region,” Faria said, adding that OneFoods can partner up with investors such as the QIA to boost it regional power.
BRF’s shares rose 2 percent in early trading in São Paulo.
“The involvement of QIA as strategic partner creates a very interesting funding opportunity for BRF,” Faria said, referring to potential acquisitions and organic growth.
Qatar’s stake in the Banvit venture could be converted into OneFoods shares if the unit goes through with an IPO, Alexandre Borges, BRF vice president for finance and investor relations said in an interview on Monday.
The first phase of the deal, which puts Banvit’s enterprise value at $470 million, involves acquiring 79.5 percent of the company’s shares. A mandatory tender offer for the rest of the company will then mirror the same conditions given to Banvit’s controlling shareholders, Faria said. (Additional reporting by Paula Laier; Editing by Dominic Evans and Jeffrey Benkoe)