November 13, 2017 / 11:04 PM / a year ago

Minerva sees Asia beef demand at 50 pct of world market in 3-4 years

NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Beef processor Minerva SA on Monday said Asia will become the destination for up to half the world’s beef in the next three to four years, up from just under 46 percent in 2017, amid rising demand in China.

That will provide opportunity to continue to boost shipments from South American producers to the region, the company said at an investor presentation in New York on Monday. The growing appetite comes as supplies of protein like beef soar in South America and other key global producers.

“The China market is a huge, huge market,” said Minerva’s Chief Commercial Officer Iain Anderson Mars. “In the coming years, I think it will be more.”

He noted changing consumer tastes behind the rise in demand.

Minerva has also been expanding more locally in South America, taking market share from key competitors including Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest meat packer. JBS, which has been embroiled in a corruption scandal this year, agreed to sell its Argentina operations to Minerva earlier this year.

“Minerva has increased slaughtering to occupy the room that JBS left,” said Alexandre Mendonça De Barros, an economist with consultancy MB Agro and a member of the board of directors at Minerva.

The executives declined to quantify the amount of that market share. (Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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