(Adds Marfrig acquisition, information on takeovers))
SAO PAULO, March 30 (Reuters) - Brazil meat packer JBS and its competitor Marfrig both announced on Monday they had closed expansion deals to takeover rival plants at home and abroad as protein demand remains firm and grain prices ease.
The world’s largest beef producer JBS SA said in a market filing its Australian subsidiary completed the acquisition of Grupo Primo Smallgoods, also based in Australia, for $1.125 billion. The deal falls in line with the company’s plan to expand sales in the Asia/Pacific region.
Brazil’s Marfrig SA also announced it had clinched a deal to acquire at least six plants processing plants controlled by Brazilian company Frigorifico Mercosul for 418 million reais ($128 million). The company had been leasing the plants previously.
The acquisitions come as global soy and corn prices have fallen nearly 50 percent since their highs in 2012. Feed prices for beef, poultry and pork can account for as much as 70 percent of companies’ livestock production costs.
Despite the drop in grains and other commodities prices such as metals and oil, demand for animal proteins has not shown as severe a drop in demand. (Reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and; W Simon)