JBS SA, the Brazil-based meat behemoth, was bracing for some challenging times over its plan for dual listing its stock but did not expect things to get so personal. However, a collection of United Kingdom Parliamentarians has decided to make it personal by organizing themselves as “Ban the Batistas,” which refers to the family that owns most of the JBS SA stock.
The company was in the news in recent years for, among other things, bribing food safety inspectors.
Last summer, JBS S.A. announced it wanted to list company shares on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, using Brazilian Depository Receipts (BDRs), and on the New York Stock Exchange. It said the dual listing will better reflect the company’s global presence and unlock shareholder value.
The company also said the dual listing will accelerate its capacity for diversification and growth into more branded and value-added food products, reduce its cost of capital, and generate greater returns for shareholders.
Listing on the New York Stock Exchange requires U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval. In a letter to the SEC Chair Gary Gensler, the UK politicians are expressing their opposition to the Initial Public Offering (IPO) sought by JBS S.A.
“JBS, the biggest meat producer globally, has a well-documented history of engaging in deforestation, violating human rights, and seizing land from Indigenous communities,” the letter to Gentler says. “As a global food leader looking to increase its growth and influence, the company’s practices pose a significant threat to the ecosystem for global climate regulation and biodiversity conservation. We believe that you are aware –through the extensive media coverage and reviews of regulators, including the SEC — of the alleged and actual corporate malpractice at JBS.”
The letter is signed by about a baker’s dozen Members of Parliament. There are 650 MPs in the UK House of Commons.
“Rewarding JBS by declaring its IPO application effective and enabling it to access to U.S. capital bolsters the company’s ability to expand its global operations, leading to a surge in deforestation and environmental degradation. It contradicts global efforts of governments and businesses to take action to mitigate climate change, preserve essential natural habitats, and avoid jeopardizing the progress in addressing environmental challenges,” the letter continues. “JBS is also attempting to distort global public policy debate about meat consumption.
“We implore you to reject the JBS IPO application and send a clear message that the United States stands firm in its commitment to combating climate change,” the letter adds. In a statement released with the letter, the group even says it is “monitoring” U.S. leadership on climate issues
In its statement, Ban the Batistas claims to be “an umbrella group of organizations fighting to protect American farmers, ranchers, consumers, and investors from the risks of a U.S. stock listing by JBS S.A. and the unchecked power grab by its majority shareholders, brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista.
The Batista brothers’ financial vehicle is J&F Investments, the controlling shareholder in JBS. SA. Which employs more than 250,000 people in 190 countries, including those in North America employed by the Greeley, CO-based JBS, USA.
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