SAO PAULO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Brazilian food processor BRF
SA said on Tuesday that chief executive Lorival Luz
has resigned and will be replaced by Miguel Gularte, a top
executive at beef-packer Marfrig Global Foods SA.
Shares in the poultry and pork processor were around 6%
higher in early trading in Sao Paulo, but closed 1.10% lower at
16.19 reais ($3.17) as BRF investors digested the news.
"To some extent, Miguel Gularte can be described as a beef
guy," BTG Pactual analysts said in a note to clients.
Whether he can reposition BRF to face stiff competition in
Brazil remains an open question. "These are very different
industries and require a different set of skills," BTG said
comparing beef operations to pork and poultry processors.
BRF said the move does not reflect an intention to merge the
two companies, even though the market has speculated that for
Marfrig, which owns 33.27% of BRF, has said previously it
was only interested in a passive stake in BRF.
But BTG analysts see Gularte's appointment as "yet another
sign of how Marfrig is effectively taking control and
influencing BRF's operations."
XP analysts said in a note Gularte's appointment was
"unexpected," also highlighting the fact his experience comes
from the beef sector.
Still, XP believes Gularte "should be able to make BRF more
agile, removing discomforting inertia that was responsible for
lost opportunities in BRF's past."
BRF, owner of well known brands Sadia and Perdigao in
Brazil, has been reeling from high cost inflation and makes most
of its sales in the domestic market.
Unlike rivals JBS SA and Marfrig, BRF does not
process cattle or owns plants in countries like the United
Gularte was chief executive of Marfrig until today's
Marfrig, whose shares dropped 3.78% after the bell on
Tuesday, named Rui Mendonca as new CEO for South America
($1 = 5.1134 reais)
(Reporting by Gabriel Araujo and Ana Mano; Editing by Kirsten
Donovan and Jane Merriman)