SAO PAULO, June 1 (Reuters) - Shares in Brazilian pork and
poultry processor BRF SA closed up nearly 10% on
Tuesday after beef producer Marfrig Global Foods SA
asked antitrust watchdog CADE to approve its purchase of almost
a quarter of BRF's stock.
There were also rumors among traders that Marfrig was
continuing to build on its stake throughout the day, according
to the local press.
In May, Marfrig announced publicly that it had bought 24% of
BRF's outstanding shares, adding that it had no intention of
influencing BRF's strategy or management.
Marfrig's decision to seek an antitrust review of its
purchase of a stake in Sao Paulo-listed BRF, Brazil's biggest
poultry processor and owner of leading brands like Sadia,
underscores the sensitivity of the investment.
A Marfrig spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday that the
application, which is meant to be analyzed under a fast-track
procedure, was made on May 28 and could be processed in as
little as 30 days by Brazilian antitrust authorities.
The beef company said on May 21 that the investment, which
comes almost two years after previous failed merger talks
between the two companies, was a passive stake solely aimed at
diversifying its holdings.
Marfrig, which spent around $800 million to build the BRF
stake over a few days, said it had no immediate plans to seek
representation on the company's board.
CADE said in an emailed message to Reuters that so far there
was no notice of any filing in the federal gazette by Marfrig
seeking antitrust clearance for the deal.
Also on Tuesday, Sao Paulo daily O Estado de S. Paulo and
financial blog Brazil Journal reported that there were
widespread rumors among traders of Marfrig building upon its
position in BRF throughout the trading session.
Both companies declined to comment on the matter.
Common shares in BRF closed up 9.55%, the biggest gainer on
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa equities index. Common shares
in Marfrig closed up 0.6%.
(Reporting by Ana Mano; Additional reporting and writing by
Editing by Alexander Smith and Richard Pullin)