The Primo smallgoods factory at Wacol and adjoining Hans Factory outlet will be taken over by JBS.
The Primo smallgoods factory at Wacol and adjoining Hans Factory outlet will be taken over by JBS. Sarah Harvey

JBS to take over ham, bacon, smallgoods company Primo Group

ONE of Ipswich's biggest employers will increase its footprint across the globe following their acquisition of the country's largest smallgoods producer.

JBS, which employs 2000 people at its Dinmore meatworks, has signed a $1.45 billion conditional agreement to take over ham, bacon and smallgoods company Primo Group, which also owns the Hans and Beehive brands.

The purchase is a strategic one by JBS, which not only wants to tap into the smallgoods market, but also use its global distribution network to get those products into new parts of the world.

JBS CEO Wesley Batista said there had been strong annual growth in the consumption of processed meat, meaning there was great potential to expand.

"There is a great opportunity for JBS to invest in the ongoing growth of this business, both domestically in Australia and New Zealand, and through expanding the sales of Primo Group products into offshore markets," Mr Batista said.

Primo Group operates five processing plants in Australia and New Zealand, including the $200 million facility at Wacol, opened in 2012, which employs 1000 people.

Primo CEO Paul Hitchcock said it would be "business as usual" from now on and the sale would not affect current employees, suppliers and customers.

"JBS will open doors in terms of growing the export side of the business," he said.

The sale signals the end of an era for Primo, which was still part-owned by the founder Paul Lederer and his family, up until JBS came along.

Affinity Equity Partners acquired just over 70% of Primo in 2011.

The sale to JBS is subject to customary regulatory approvals.


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