SAO PAULO, July 31 (Reuters) - JBS SA, the world’s No. 2 food processor, has picked BNP Paribas SA to help sell Moy Park Ltd, which the company has put on the block, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.
JBS, whose controlling family has been ensnared in a corruption scandal, announced plans to sell Ireland-based Moy Park on June 20.
According to the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, JBS decided to tap the investment bank of Paris-based BNP Paribas to assess whether interest from several potential bidders could materialize into a transaction.
Some companies that have expressed interest in purchasing Moy Park include China’s WH Group and subsidiary Smithfield Foods Inc and middle-market buyout firm CapVest Partners LLP, according to local reports. Others include French commodities giant Louis Dreyfus Co and Groupe Bigard, as well as British foodmaker Two Sisters Food Group, a report by O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper said last week.
JBS and Smithfield declined to comment. BNP Paribas, LDC, Bigard, Two Sisters and CapVest did not have an immediate comment.
Bonds and shares of JBS have dropped since mid-May, when brothers and controlling shareholders Wesley and Joesley Batista sought a plea deal related to a corruption probe. Wesley, the elder of the brothers and JBS’s chief executive officer, is personally negotiating any planned asset sales, people told Reuters this month.
Shares of JBS fell 0.1 percent to 7.65 reais at 3:10 p.m. local time (1810 GMT) on Monday, extending losses to 12 percent since May 17.
A successful Moy Park sale would further downsize the Brazilian meatpacker, which became the world’s largest through loans funded with Brazilian taxpayer money during a decade-long acquisition spree. JBS paid $1.5 billion to rival Marfrig Global Foods SA for Moy Park two years ago.
Between 2008 and 2015, JBS participated in about 74 mergers and acquisitions totaling $30 billion, Thomson Reuters deals intelligence data showed.
Since agreeing to pay a 10.3 billion-real leniency fine in May, the Batistas have refinanced debt and sold several assets not related to JBS. Their investment holding company J&F Investimentos SA is also seeking buyers for a dairy producer and a pulpmaker.
$1 = 3.1234 reais Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Frances Kerry