Argentine Billionaire Wants to List His Cows in New York
An Argentine billionaire banker is on the verge of becoming a beef mogul.
Brito’s move to create a beef empire by multiplying Juramento’s herd and buying up new land comes at a time when President Mauricio Macri is leaning on farmers to drive an economic recovery. Macri scrapped a beef export tax of 15 percent when he took office in December 2015 and is in talks to ship fresh cuts to the U.S. for the first time in about 15 years. That’s a turnaround from his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, whose protectionist policies stifled the beef industry.
“Since Macri has come in, the equation has turned positive,” said Brito.
Ranchers have responded by raising cattle numbers. Year-end stocks are forecast to rise to 54.7 million, the most in a decade, according to a March report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And exports are also expected to climb from a year ago to 270,000 metric tons.
Juramento’s 87,414-hectare farm (about 216,000 acres) is primarily set up to breed Brangus and Bradford cattle. The company uses 14,000 hectares to grow corn and soybeans, and therefore doesn’t need to buy cattle feed, Brito said. While it exports premium cuts to Europe, most of its beef is sold domestically because the more than 800-mile journey to a port in Buenos Aires is expensive.
Inflation that’s proving tough to tame and an overvalued currency mean Argentine meat packers remain uncompetitive and find better profits in the local market, according to the USDA. Argentina was the world’s top beef exporter in the 1930s but now lies 10th in the table of exporting nations, behind smaller neighbors Paraguay and Uruguay.