June 12, 2018 / 8:07 PM / 8 months ago

Brazil's BRF major shareholders won't sell at current prices -Petros CEO

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, June 12 (Reuters) - Controlling shareholders of Brazil’s BRF SA, the world’s largest poultry exporter, are not interested in selling their stakes at current prices, said the chief executive of pension fund Petros, a major stakeholder, on Tuesday.

Walter Mendes said Petros, which manages pensions for employees of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, was “not aware” of any proposal by meatpacker Minerva SA to merge with BRF. He was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a pension fund conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Minerva last week denied speculation about such a merger, following reports that it had contacted investors for funding.

Mendes added that BRF may benefit from its Chairman Pedro Parente quitting his other job as Petrobras’ CEO. “He will have more time to dedicate to BRF,” he said.

Brazilian police arrested the former CEO of BRF in March on charges that he and other executives knew the company engaged in fraud to evade food safety checks.

Mendes said BRF’s new CEO will be chosen by the board and did not elaborate on any potential candidates.

BRF shares have slumped 43 percent this year because of the food safety scandal, a huge truckers’ strike against high diesel prices that paralyzed the Brazilian economy in May and forced farms to cull some 70 million chickens due to a lack of feed.

Last week, BRF shares were hard hit by China’s decision to impose temporary anti-dumping measures on imports of Brazilian chicken meat.

On Tuesday, Credit Suisse analysts reduced the target price for BRF shares to 18 reais from 28 reais. BRF shares fell 3.2 in Sao Paulo to 20.82 reais.

In a report to clients, the analysts led by Victor Saragiotto said the new target price factors in the latest results, the spike in grain prices and the depreciation of Brazilian currency. (Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Richard Chang)

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