Saturday 24 March 2018

First fruits of Brexit? Moy Park parent JBS eyes move south

Moy Park boss Janet McCollum
Moy Park boss Janet McCollum

Simon Rowe

The parent company of poultry-giant Moy Park, Brazilian firm JBS, has been busy setting up Dublin-based shell companies as it prepares to relocate its global headquarters to Ireland.

JBS announced a major restructuring plan last month which will see it spin off its international business, and move its headquarters here ahead of a planned listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

However, rather than choosing the North, where Moy Park's HQ and factory is located in Armagh, it appears JBS bosses decided in December 2015 that the Republic was the preferred location.

The more favourable corporation tax rate - until 2018, at least - and the ability to offer a financial shelter from the effects of a Brexit probably tipped the balance.

Five shell companies linked to JBS were incorporated just before Christmas last year, less than three months after the Brazilian food giant acquired Moy Park as part of their strategic plan to expand into Europe. Another company, JBS Foods International Designated Activity Company, was registered just last month. Its directors include Marcus O'Sullivan - managing director of JBS Global, the UK arm of the food giant - who was appointed to the new company just 10 days ago.

According to company filings, the names of the following entities - JBS Investments Dublin, JBS Investments Waterford, JBS Cork, JBS Asia Pacific Investments, and JBS Asia Pacific Holdings DAC - have all registered addresses listed at A&L Goodbody's Spencer Dock headquarters in Dublin.

The directors of the five companies are listed as Khalil Kaddissi, the legal director at JBS, and Francisco de Assis e Silva, executive director of institutional relations at the company.

In one of the few financial filings made by any of the Irish-registered JBS companies, JBS Asia Pacific Holding DAC, which was incorporated on December 18, 2015, states that a sum of $223m was paid to a Luxembourg affiliate, JBS Ansembourg, "by way of return of capital".

In an interview with the Sunday Independent in recent days, Moy Park managing director Janet McCollum denied that any decision had yet been made on where JBS is locating its Irish HQ.

"I understand there has been no decision on where that company would be based, although I know it has been stated that Ireland is an option," she said.

McCollum also denied that the decision to move the JBS global headquarters to Ireland was about tax avoidance.

Sunday Indo Business

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