Company Quick10K Filing
BRF
20-F 2019-12-31 Filed 2020-04-24
20-F 2018-12-31 Filed 2019-04-30
20-F 2017-12-31 Filed 2018-04-30
20-F 2016-12-31 Filed 2017-04-26
20-F 2015-12-31 Filed 2016-04-05
20-F 2014-12-31 Filed 2015-03-31
20-F 2013-12-31 Filed 2014-03-31
20-F 2012-12-31 Filed 2013-04-04
20-F 2011-12-31 Filed 2012-04-30
20-F 2010-12-31 Filed 2011-04-29
20-F 2009-12-31 Filed 2010-05-03

BRFS 20F Annual Report

Item 17 ¨ Item 18 ¨.
Part Iintroduction
Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Item 3. Key Information A. Selected Financial Data
Item 4. Information on The Company A. History and Development of The Company
Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects A. Operating Results
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees A. Directors and Senior Management
Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions A. Major Shareholders
Item 8. Financial Information A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information
Item 9. The Offer and Listing A. Offer and Listing Details
Item 10. Additional Information A. Share Capital
Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 12. Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities A. Debt Securities
Part II Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies
Item 14. Material Modifications To The Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds
Item 15. Controls and Procedures A. Disclosure Controls and Procedures
Item 16. [Reserved]
Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert
Item 16B. Code of Ethics
Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Item 16D. Exemptions From The Listing Standards for Audit Committees
Item 16E. Purchases of Equity Securities By The Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
Item 16F. Change in Registrant's Certifying Accountant
Item 16G. Corporate Governance
Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure
Part III Item 17. Financial Statements
Item 18. Financial Statements
Item 19. Exhibits
EX-8.1 exhibit08_1.htm
EX-12.1 exhibit12_1.htm
EX-12.2 exhibit12_2.htm
EX-13.1 exhibit13_1.htm
EX-13.2 exhibit13_2.htm

BRF Earnings 2019-12-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

20-F 1 brfform20f_2019.htm FORM 20-F brfform20f_2019.htm - Generated by SEC Publisher for SEC Filing  

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

¨            REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

x           ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
OR

¨            TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

¨            SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission file number 001-15148

BRF S.A.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its charter)

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Federative Republic of Brazil
(Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

Av. Das Nações Unidas, 8501 – 1st Floor
Pinheiros – 05425-070

São Paulo – SP, Brazil
(Address of principal executive offices)

Carlos Alberto Bezerra de Moura

Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer
Tel. (5511) 2322-5005, Fax (5511) 2322-5740
Av. Das Nações Unidas, 8501 – 1st Floor
Pinheiros – 05425-070

São Paulo – SP, Brazil
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

 

Common Shares, no par value*

American Depositary Shares (as evidenced by American Depositary Receipts), each representing one share of common stock

Name of each exchange on

which registered

The New York Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange

____________________

*  Not for trading purposes, but only in connection with the registration of American Depositary Shares representing those common shares.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

None


 
 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report:

At December 31, 2019, there were 812,473,246 common shares (including treasury shares), with no par value, outstanding.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes x   No ¨

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Yes ¨   No x

Note- Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes x  No ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x  No ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or an emerging growth company.  See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer   x

Accelerated filer   ¨

Non-accelerated filer   ¨

Emerging growth company    ¨

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

¨  U.S. GAAP

x    International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board

¨  Other

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

Item 17 ¨   Item 18 ¨.

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes ¨   No x

 


 
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

PART I INTRODUCTION

1

ITEM 1.       IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

2

ITEM 2.       OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

2

ITEM 3.       KEY INFORMATION

2

A.            Selected Financial Data

2

B.            Capitalization and Indebtedness

3

C.            Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

3

D.            Risk Factors

4

ITEM 4.       INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

32

A.            History and Development of the Company

32

B.            Business Overview

35

C.            Organizational Structure

55

D.            Property, Plant and Equipment

56

ITEM 4A.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

60

ITEM 5.       OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

60

A.            Operating Results

60

B.            Liquidity and Capital Resources

78

C.            Research and Development, Patents and Licenses

90

D.            Trend Information

92

E.            Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

94

F.             Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

95

G.            Safe Harbor

95

ITEM 6.       DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

95

A.            Directors and Senior Management

95

B.            Compensation

101

C.            Board Practices

102

D.            Employees

105

E.            Share Ownership

106

ITEM 7.       MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

108

A.            Major Shareholders

108

B.            Related Party Transactions

111

C.            Interests of Experts and Counsel

112

ITEM 8.       FINANCIAL INFORMATION

112

A.            Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information

112

 

i


 
 

B.            Significant Changes

125

ITEM 9.       THE OFFER AND LISTING

125

A.            Offer and Listing Details

125

B.            Plan of Distribution

125

C.            Markets

125

D.            Selling Shareholders

128

E.            Dilution

128

F.             Expenses of the Issue

128

ITEM 10.     ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

128

A.            Share Capital

128

B.            Memorandum and Articles of Association

128

C.            Material Contracts

149

D.            Exchange Controls

149

E.            Taxation

149

F.             Dividends and Paying Agents

160

G.            Statement by Experts

160

H.            Documents on Display

161

I.             Subsidiary Information

161

ITEM 11.     QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

161

ITEM 12.     DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

166

A.            Debt Securities

166

B.            Warrants and Rights

167

C.            Other Securities

167

D.            American Depositary Shares

167

PART II

167

ITEM 13.     DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

167

ITEM 14.     MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

168

ITEM 15.     CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

168

A.            Disclosure Controls and Procedures

168

B.            Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

168

C.            Attestation Report of the Registered Public Accounting Firm

168

D.            Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

169

ITEM 16.     [RESERVED]

169

ITEM 16A.  AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

169

ITEM 16B.  CODE OF ETHICS

169

ITEM 16C.  PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

169

ii


 
 

iii


 
 

PART I
INTRODUCTION

Unless otherwise indicated, all references herein to (1) “BRF” are references to BRF S.A., a corporation organized under the laws of the Federative Republic of Brazil (“Brazil”), and its consolidated subsidiaries, (2) the “Company,” “we,” “us,” “our” or “our company” are references to BRF, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, and (3) “common shares” are references to the Company’s authorized and outstanding common stock, designated ordinary shares (ações ordinárias), each without par value. All references herein to the “real,” “reais” or “R$” are to the Brazilian real, the official currency of Brazil.  All references to “U.S. dollars,” “dollars” or “U.S.$” are to the United States dollar.  All references to “euro” or “EUR” are to euros, the official currency of the Eurozone in the European Union. All references to “TRY” are to the Turkish lira, the official currency of Turkey. All references to “SGD” are to the Singapore Dollar, the official currency of Singapore.

U.S.$ amounts are disclosed for each transaction at the amount negotiated to be settled in U.S.$ at the initiation date of the transaction.

Market data and certain industry forecasts used herein were obtained from internal surveys, market research, publicly available information and industry publications. While we believe that market research, publicly available information and industry publications we use are reliable, we have not independently verified market and industry data from third-party sources. Moreover, while we believe our internal surveys are reliable, they have not been verified by any independent source.

We prepared our annual consolidated financial statements included in this annual report in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (“IASB”).  We have made rounding adjustments to reach some of the figures included herein.  As a result, numerical figures shown as totals in some tables may not be an arithmetic aggregation of the figures that preceded them.

Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 20-F contains information that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Many of the forward-looking statements contained in this annual report can be identified by the use of forward-looking words, such as “believe,” “may,” “aim,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “will,” “intend,” “plan,” “expect” and “potential,” among others.  Forward-looking statements include information concerning our possible or assumed future results of operations, business strategies, financing plans, competitive position, industry environment, potential growth opportunities, the effects of future regulation and the effects of competition. They appear in a number of places in this annual report, principally under the captions “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors,” “Item 4. Information on the Company” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and include statements regarding the intent, belief, projections or current expectations of the Company, its directors or its executive officers about future events and financial trends affecting our business.  Many important factors, in addition to those discussed elsewhere in this annual report, could cause our actual results to differ substantially from those anticipated in our forward-looking statements. 

These factors include: (i) health risks related to the food industry, including in connection with ongoing investigations and legal proceedings, (ii) more stringent trade barriers in key export markets and increased regulation of food safety and security, (iii) the risk of outbreak of animal diseases, (iv) risks related to climate change, (v) risks related to pandemics or human disease outbreaks, such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 virus), (vi) the risk of any shortage or lack of water or other raw materials necessary for our business, (vii) compliance with various laws and regulations, (viii) risks related to new product innovation, (ix) the implementation of the principal operating strategies of the Company, including through divestitures, acquisitions or joint ventures, (x) general economic, political and business conditions in our markets, both in Brazil and abroad, (xi) the cyclicality and volatility of raw materials and selling prices, including as a result of ongoing global trade disputes, (xii) strong international and domestic competition, (xiii) risks related to labor relations, (xiv) the protection of our intellectual property, (xv) the potential unavailability of transportation and logistics services, (xvi) the risk that our insurance policies may not cover certain of our costs, (xvii) our ability to recruit and retain qualified professionals, (xviii) the risk of cybersecurity breaches, (xix) risks related to our indebtedness, (xx) risks related to the Brazilian economy and to Brazilian politics, (xxi) interest rate fluctuations, inflation and exchange rate movements of the real in relation to the U.S. dollar and other currencies, (xxii) the direction and future operation of the Company, (xxiii) the Company’s financial condition or results of operations and (xxiv) other factors identified or discussed under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors.”

1


 
 

Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.  The accompanying information contained in this Annual Report on Form 20-F, including without limitation the information set forth under the heading “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects,” identifies important factors that could cause such differences. In light of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions associated with forward-looking statements, you should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Additional risks that we may currently deem immaterial or that are not presently known to us could also cause the forward-looking events discussed in this Annual Report on Form 20-F not to occur.

Our forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 20-F or as of the date they are made, and except as otherwise required by applicable securities laws, the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise.

ITEM 1.            IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2.            OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

ITEM 3.            KEY INFORMATION

A.                  Selected Financial Data

We present below certain selected financial data derived from our consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, included herein, prepared in accordance with IFRS. IFRS differs in certain significant respects from the accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, or “U.S. GAAP.”

In July 2015, we sold the assets of our then dairy segment, including plants and trademarks, to Lactalis do Brasil – Comércio, Importação e Exportação de Laticínios Ltda. (“Lactalis”).

Following the financial and operational restructuring plan initiated in June 2018, we concluded the sale of our operations in Argentina, Europe and Thailand in 2019.  The operations in Argentina, Europe and Thailand are reported in our financial statements as discontinued operations for all periods presented.

The selected financial data should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto contained in this Annual Report on Form 20-F, as well as the information set forth under the heading “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects.”

STATEMENT OF INCOME (LOSS) DATA

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

 

(in thousands of reais, except share, per share and per ADS amounts and as otherwise indicated)

Statement of Income (Loss) Data

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing Operations

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

33,446,980

30,188,421

28,314,160

27,883,943

27,513,997

Gross profit

8,076,938

4,867,668

5,712,945

6,949,865

9,052,829

Operating income (loss)

2,748,337

(206,334)

663,184

1,962,881

3,841,789

Income (Loss) from Continuing Operations

1,078,333

(2,114,506)

(966,765)

(110,991)

2,630,422

 

2


 
 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

 

(in thousands of reais, except share, per share and per ADS amounts and as otherwise indicated)

Net Income (Loss)

162,524

(4,466,246)

(1,098,854)

(367,339)

2,497,770

Attributable to:

 

 

 

 

 

Controlling shareholders

162,684

(4,448,061)

(1,125,572)

(372,383)

2,928,082

Non-controlling shareholders

(160)

(18,185)

26,718

5,044

19,688

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings (loss) per share - basic from continuing operations

1.32

(2.61)

(1.23)

(0.13)

3.50

Earnings (loss) per ADS - basic from continuing operations

1.32

(2.61)

(1.23)

(0.13)

3.50

Earnings (loss) per share – basic

0.37

(5.48)

(1.40)

(0.46)

3.72

Earnings (loss) per ADS – basic

0.37

(5.48)

(1.40)

(0.46)

3.72

Weighted average shares outstanding at the end of the year – basic (millions)

811,539,167

811,294,251

803,559,763

801,903,266

842,000,012

Earnings (loss) per share – diluted

1.3

(2.61)

(1.23)

(0.13)

3.69

Earnings (loss) per ADS – diluted

1.3

(2.61)

(1.23)

(0.13)

3.69

Weighted average shares outstanding at the end of the year – diluted (millions)

813,867,119

811,294,251

803,559,763

801,903,266

842,401,821

Dividends per share

0.76

1.20

Dividends per ADS

0.76

1.20

 

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION DATA

 

 

At December 31,

 

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

 

(in thousands of reais, except as otherwise indicated)

Statement of Financial Position Data

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents....................

4,237,785

4,869,562

6,010,829

6,356,919

5,362,890

Trade accounts receivable, net..............

3,031,046

2,604,928

3,919,022

3,085,147

3,876,308

Inventories...........................................

3,887,916

3,877,294

4,948,168

4,791,640

4,032911

Assets held for sale..................................

99,245

3,326,305

41,571

26,126

32,448

Total current assets.................................

15,045,427

19,030,900

19,185,523

18,893,738

19,180,049

Property, plant and equipment, net.......

12,276,889

10,696,998

12,190,583

11,746,238

10,915,752

Intangible assets...................................

4,908,079

5,019,398

7,197,636

6,672,554

5,010,911

Total non-current assets..........................

26,724,712

23,351,477

26,042,958

24,051,198

21,207,965

Total assets..............................................

41,770,139

42,382,377

45,228,481

42,944,936

40,388,014

Loans and borrowings..........................

3,132,029

4,547,389

5,031,351

3,245,004

2,628,179

Trade accounts payable........................

5,784,419

5,487,205

6,445,486

5,839,838

4,744,993

Total current liabilities............................

13,528,441

14,488,640

14,874,377

12,640,423

11,621,113

Loans and borrowings..........................

15,488,250

17,618,055

15,413,027

15,717,376

12,551,104

Total non-current liabilities....................

20,228,277

20,361,960

18,641,322

18,085,160

14,931,048

Equity

 

 

 

 

 

Capital..................................................

12,460,471

12,460,471

12,460,471

12,460,471

12,460,471

Total equity.............................................

8,013,421

7,531,777

11,712,782

12,219,353

13,835,853

Total liabilities and equity.......................

41,770,139

42,382,377

45,228,481

42,944,936

40,388,014

 

B.                  Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

C.                  Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

 

3


 
 

D.                  Risk Factors

Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

Health risks related to our business and the food industry could adversely affect our ability to sell our products.

We are subject to risks affecting the food industry generally, including risks posed by contamination or food spoilage, evolving nutritional and health-related concerns, consumer product liability claims, product tampering and sabotage, the possible unavailability and expense of liability insurance, public perception of product safety for both the industry as a whole and also our products specifically, but not exclusively, as a result of disease outbreaks or the fear of such outbreaks, the potential cost and disruption of a product recall and possible impacts on our image and brands. Among such risks are those related to raising animals, including disease and adverse weather conditions.

Meat can be subject to contamination during processing and distribution. In particular, processed meat may become exposed to various disease-producing pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella tiphimurium and E. coli O157:H7. These pathogens can also be introduced to our products during production or as a result of improper handling by third-party food processors, franchisees, distributors, foodservice providers or consumers. Spoilage, especially spoilage due to failure of temperature-controlled storage and transportation systems, is also a risk. The systems we maintain to monitor food safety risks throughout all stages of production and distribution could fail to function properly and product contamination could still occur. Failures in our systems to ensure food safety could result in harmful publicity that could cause damage to our brands, reputation and image and negatively impact sales, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

On February 13, 2019, we announced a voluntary recall of approximately 164.7 metric tons of fresh chicken meat for the Brazilian domestic market and approximately 299.6 metric tons of fresh chicken meat for the international market due to a potential presence of Salmonella enteritidis. This recall and possible future recalls have resulted and may result, respectively, in increased costs and could negatively affect our brands’ reputation. In the future, a product that has been actually or allegedly contaminated could result in product withdrawals or recalls, disposal of product inventory, negative publicity, temporary plant closings, substantial cost of compliance or remediation and potentially significant product liability judgments against us. Any of these events could result in a loss of demand for our products, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

Even if our own products are not affected by contamination, our industry may face adverse publicity in certain of its markets if the products of other producers become contaminated, which could result in negative public perception about the safety of our products and reduced consumer demand for our products in the affected category. Significant lawsuits, widespread product recalls and other negative events faced by us or our competitors could result in a widespread loss of consumer confidence in the safety and quality of our products. Our sales are ultimately dependent on consumer preferences, and any actual or perceived health risks associated with our products could cause customers to lose confidence in the safety and quality of our products and have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

We have been subject to significant investigations relating to, among other things, food safety and quality control, and an adverse outcome of any of these investigations could result in penalties, fines or other forms of liability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, brand, results of operations and financial condition.

Brazilian authorities are investigating Brazil’s meat processing industry in the so-called “Carne Fraca Operation.” The investigation involves a number of companies in the Brazilian industry and, among other things, includes allegations relating to food safety and quality control. On January 22, 2018, the Attorney General’s Office of the Third District of the State of Goiás filed a complaint against the industrial manager of our Mineiros plant at the time of the events subject to investigation in the Carne Fraca Operation, and against the former head of quality control at our Mineiros plant, who are both no longer working for BRF. Both of them were charged for allegedly committing crimes against consumers, as provided in article 7, item II of Law 8,137/90. According to the complaint,

4


 
 

laboratory tests (dripping tests) detected excessive levels of water absorbed by the chicken products collected by authorities at our Mineiros plant. The Attorney General’s Office of the Third District of the State of Goiás alleges we produced chicken products with higher quantities of water than the limits permitted by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento, or “MAPA”), with potential damages to customers, considering they would potentially be acquiring chicken meat products with a weight lower than that indicated on the packaging, since part of the weight of the frozen chicken would consist merely of water contained therein.

On March 5, 2018, BRF learned of a decision issued by a federal judge of the First Federal Court of Ponta Grossa in the State of Paraná, which authorized the search and seizure of information and documents from us and certain current and former employees and the temporary detention of certain individuals.  In what media reports have identified as the “Trapaça Operation,” eleven current and former employees of BRF were temporarily detained for questioning, including former Chief Executive Officer Pedro Faria and former Vice President for Global Operations Helio Rubens.  All such current and former employees were released from custody and those who are still our employees are on leaves of absence from BRF. A number of other BRF employees and former employees were identified for questioning. The primary allegations in the Trapaça Operation involve alleged misconduct relating to quality violations, improper use of feed components and falsification of tests at certain BRF manufacturing plants and accredited labs. 

On October 15, 2018, the Brazilian Federal Police issued the final report on the investigation of the Trapaça Operation with accusations against 43 people, among which 23 are current or former BRF employees, including former Chief Executive Officer Pedro Faria, former chairman of the board of directors Abilio Diniz, and three former vice presidents. Those who are still our employees are on leaves of absence from BRF. Allegations against these senior employees generally focused on communications relating to alleged dioxin contamination. Since then, the police investigation has been under review by the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor responsible for the case to determine whether to bring criminal charges. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings” for additional information.

As a result of the Trapaça Operation, on March 5, 2018, we were notified by MAPA that it immediately suspended exports from our Rio Verde/Goiás, Carambeí/Paraná and Mineiros/Goiás plants to 13 countries with specific sanitary requirements related to Salmonella spp. As a precautionary measure, MAPA also suspended exports from 10 other BRF plants to the European Union on March 15, 2018. On May 14, 2018, the European Union announced the decision to suspend 12 of our production facilities in Brazil by revoking the export approval of meat products from such facilities to the European Union’s countries due to increasing pressure from domestic producers’ organizations, supposedly demanding the measure for local market protection. The European Union generally has stricter requirements related to salmonella levels and other food safety standards compared to Brazil and the international markets in which we operate. Given the import ban  applied to our production facilities, we are unable to export meat from such facilities to the European Union. Our results of operations may be further adversely affected due to the need to redirect the production capacity of such facilities, originally destined for the European Union, to other markets at similar prices or margins.

On December 4, 2019, with respect to the Trapaça Operation, criminal charges were brought against former or inactive BRF employees for allegedly committing, in the manufacture of animal feed and PREMIX compound (supplement added to animal feed), aggravated larceny by fraud, false representation, wrapper or container with false labelling, forgery of substance or food product, forgery of product intended for therapeutic or medicinal purposes and criminal association, at least during the period between 2012 and 2018. The defendants were notified of the criminal charges on January 21, 2020, and the proceeding is currently pending responses by the defendants to the charges.

Any of these existing investigations or any other future investigation could result in penalties, fines or other forms of liability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, brand, results of operations and financial condition.

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More stringent trade barriers in key export markets may negatively affect our results of operations.

Because of the growing market share of Brazilian poultry, pork and beef products in the international markets, Brazilian exporters are increasingly being affected by measures taken by importing countries to protect local producers. The competitiveness of Brazilian companies has led certain countries to establish trade barriers to limit the access of Brazilian companies to their markets. Trade barriers can consist of both tariffs and non-tariff barriers. In our industry, non-tariff barriers are of particular concern, especially sanitary and technical restrictions.

As a result of the regulators’ inquiries and the public announcement of allegations of wrongdoing involving BRF and other companies in the Brazilian meat industry in the context of the Carne Fraca Operation and Trapaça Operation, some export markets have been temporarily closed, and our average selling prices for some products and in some markets have decreased. For additional information, see “—Health risks related to our business and the food industry could adversely affect our ability to sell our products” and “—We have been subject to significant investigations relating to, among other things, food safety and quality control, and an adverse outcome of any of these investigations could result in penalties, fines or other forms of liability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, brand, results of operations and financial condition.”

Some countries, such as Russia and South Africa, have a history of erecting trade barriers to imports of food products. Also, the European Union has adopted a quota system for certain poultry products and prohibitive tariffs for certain products that do not have quotas in order to mitigate the effects of Brazil’s lower production costs on European producers. Other countries have also imposed trade barriers against our products. For example, in August 2017, the Chinese government initiated an antidumping investigation in connection with Brazilian exports of whole chicken and chicken parts, including BRF’s exports. The investigation ended in February 2019, and Brazilian exporters agreed to certain minimum export prices for sales to China. Additionally, in August 2018, Iraq increased the tariff on poultry products from 10% to 60%.

Many developed countries use direct and indirect subsidies to enhance the competitiveness of their producers in other markets. In addition, local producers in some markets may exert political pressure on their governments to prevent foreign producers from exporting to their market, particularly during unfavorable economic conditions. Any of the above restrictions could substantially affect our export volumes and, consequently, our export sales and financial performance. If new trade barriers arise in our key export markets, we may face difficulties in reallocating our products to other markets on favorable terms, and our business, financial condition and results of operations might be adversely affected.

Trade disputes between other countries also creates uncertainties that may adversely affect Brazilian exports and our operations. For instance, the United States and China engaged in a trade dispute for almost 18 months, which has affected the global economy. On January 1, 2020, the United States and China signed the first phase of a trade agreement expected to alleviate the tensions between the two countries. A second phase of the agreement is expected to be even more difficult to achieve. There can be no assurances that the trade dispute will be fully resolved and that the global economy will not be further affected by it. The United Sates is expected to maintain the 25% tariffs on a wide range of U.S.$250 billion of Chinese industrial goods and components used by the U.S. manufacturing sector. Both improvements in the countries’ commercial relations and new mutually beneficial trade agreements at the expense of other countries may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

In addition, in April 2018, Saudi Arabia instituted a no-stunning requirement for the animal slaughtering process. Saudi Arabia claimed that Brazilian companies’ chicken slaughtering practices violated Halal principles due to the use of an electric shock to stun the birds. BRF and other Brazilian companies were therefore required to migrate their production processes to non-stunning slaughters in order to supply the Saudi Arabian market. We have incurred, and expect to incur, additional costs in connection with these requirements for exporting to Saudi Arabia. In January 2019, the Saudi Arabian Food and Drug Authority published a report authorizing 25 Brazilian facilities to produce chicken meat for the Saudi Arabian market, which included eight of BRF’s plants. One of BRF’s plants (Lajeado, Rio Grande do Sul) that had previously produced chicken meat for the Saudi Arabian market was not included as an authorized plant. The continuous shifting of our production of chicken meat for Saudi Arabia to the authorized plants may result in decreased revenues and additional expenses.

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In August 2019, Saudi Arabia imposed an embargo on seasoned chicken meat produced in our Kizad facility, in Abu Dhabi, which was restricted from exporting to Saudi Arabia. The embargo was a result of Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan, announced in April 2016 as a national campaign to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and substitute imports with local production. Saudi Arabia then expanded the embargo to the other products from our Kizad facility. In October 2019, we announced that we had executed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority – SAGIA regarding the construction and operation by BRF of a poultry processing plant in Saudi Arabia. We estimate that the investment amount will be around R$634 million (US$120 million, translated to reais at the exchange rate of R$5.2837 as of April 20, 2020). The location, capacity, investment schedule, capital structure and other conditions related to this plant are still being discussed. There can be no assurance that the Saudi Arabian government will not further restrict our ability to export our products to Saudi Arabia, which may result in a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In February 2020, we received notification from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (“SFDA”), the Saudi Arabian sanitary authority, regarding a report temporarily suspending two of our facilities, specifically the Dois Vizinhos, State of Paraná and Francisco Beltrão, State of Paraná plants, from exporting chicken meat to Saudi Arabia. The SFDA informed us that the measure is temporary and, among other measures, requested that the Brazilian authorities provide more details about the investigations carried out between 2014 and 2018 regarding alleged violations by BRF in the production of animal feed and PREMIX compound. For more information about these investigations, see “—We have been subject to significant investigations relating to, among other things, food safety and quality control, and an adverse outcome of any of these investigations could result in penalties, fines or other forms of liability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, brand, results of operations and financial condition.” Additionally, the Saudi government has been implementing, since January 2020, a previous import licenses system, which is still not fully in effect at the moment. In the future, this system may adversely affect our exports to the country, since it might be used by local authorities as a means to control the entry of products and thus, artificially affect demand and offer and, consequently, prices, which run counter to basic principles of international trade rules and regulations.

Outbreaks, or fears of outbreaks, of any animal diseases may lead to cancellation of orders by our customers and create adverse publicity that may have a material adverse effect on consumer demand for our products. Moreover, outbreaks of animal diseases in Brazil may result in foreign governmental action to close export markets for some or all of our products, which may result in the loss of some or all of these animals.

Our operations involve raising poultry and hogs and processing their meat, which requires us to maintain certain standards of animal health and control disease. We could be required to dispose of animals or suspend the sale or export of some of our products to customers in Brazil and abroad in the event of an outbreak of disease affecting animals, such as the following: (1) in the case of hogs and certain other animals, foot-and-mouth disease, influenza (H5N1) and African swine fever; and (2) in the case of poultry, avian influenza and Newcastle disease. In addition, if the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), which has broken out in Europe and the United States in 1990 and 1985, respectively, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PEDV), which has broken out in Europe and the United States in 2014 and 2013, respectively, or the African swine fever which broke out in China in 2018, were to break out in Brazil, we could be required to dispose of hogs. While there have been outbreaks of Classical Swine Fever in Brazil, and although none have occurred in the free zones where we source our hogs for production, any such occurrence could require us to dispose of affected hogs. Disposal of poultry, hogs or other animals would preclude recovery of costs incurred in raising or purchasing these animals and result in additional expense for the disposal of such animals and loss of inventory. An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or other similar diseases could have an effect on livestock we own and the availability of livestock for purchase. In addition, the global effects of avian influenza or other similar diseases would impact consumer perception of certain protein products and our ability to access certain markets, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Chicken and other birds in some countries, particularly in Asia but also in Europe, the Americas and Africa, have on occasion become infected by highly pathogenic avian influenza in recent years. In a small number of highly-publicized cases, avian influenza has been transmitted from birds to humans, resulting in illness and, at times, death. Accordingly, health authorities in many countries have taken steps to prevent outbreaks of this viral disease, including disposal of afflicted poultry flocks.

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In recent years, some human cases of avian influenza and related deaths were reported, according to the World Health Organization (“WHO”). The cases reported were caused by the H5N1 virus. In 2013, direct human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus was proven. Various countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa reported human cases in the last five years and various European countries reported avian influenza cases in poultry. In 2014, there were reports of human cases of avian influenza in Egypt, Indonesia, Cambodia, China and Vietnam, among other countries. In the Americas, there were reports of human cases of avian influenza in both Canada and the United States. In early 2015, new cases of H5N1 and H5N2 reported in the United States resulted in restrictions on U.S. exports. In 2016, new outbreaks occurred in bird populations across Northern Europe, including France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Germany. Middle Eastern and African countries also had outbreaks during 2016. In early 2017, Chile, a neighboring country to Brazil, confirmed the occurrence of avian influenza. In 2019, several countries within Europe, Asia and Africa and Mexico reported cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry.

Even though Brazil has not yet had a documented case of avian influenza, there are concerns that an outbreak of avian influenza may occur in the country in the future. Any outbreak of avian influenza in Brazil could lead to the required disposal of our poultry flocks, which would result in decreased sales in the poultry industry, prevent recovery of costs incurred in raising or purchasing poultry and result in additional expense for the disposal of poultry. In addition, any outbreak of avian influenza in Brazil would likely lead to immediate restrictions on the export of some of our products to key export markets. Preventive actions adopted by Brazilian authorities, if any, may not be effective in precluding the spread of avian influenza within Brazil.

Whether or not an outbreak of avian influenza occurs in Brazil, further outbreaks of avian influenza anywhere in the world could have a negative impact on the consumption of poultry in our key export markets or in Brazil, and a significant outbreak would negatively affect our results of operations and financial condition. Any outbreak could lead to the imposition of costly preventive controls on poultry imports in our export markets. Accordingly, any spread of avian influenza, or increasing concerns about this disease, may have a material and adverse effect on our company.

Climate change may negatively affect our business and results of operations.

We consider the potential effects of climate change when evaluating and managing our operations and supply chain, recognizing the vulnerability of natural resources and agricultural inputs that are essential for our activities. The main risks we have identified with respect to climate change relate to the changes in temperature, changes in rainfall, including drought, flooding, storms and lack of water, which may affect agricultural productivity, animal welfare and the availability of energy. These changes may adversely affect our costs and results of operations, including by raising the price of agricultural commodities as a result of long periods of drought or excessive rainfall, increasing operating costs to ensure animal welfare, increasing the risk of rationing and raising the price of electricity. We may fail to effectively implement programs to reduce our exposure to climate change, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations in the future.

We are also subject to regulatory changes, such as carbon pricing or taxation, and changes to licensing legislation for greenhouse gas emissions at the domestic and international levels. Any such changes may increase our costs and adversely affect our results of operations

Our operations are largely dependent on electricity, and energy-related expenses are one of our highest fixed costs. Energy costs have historically fluctuated significantly over time and increases in energy costs could result in reduced profits. A significant interruption in energy supply or outright loss of energy at any of our facilities could result in a temporary disruption in production and delivery of products to customers and additional costs, materially adversely affecting our results of operations.

A significant portion of Brazil’s electricity generation capacity is currently dependent upon hydroelectric facilities. Hydroelectric production is vulnerable to a variety of factors, including the variability of precipitation. There can be no assurance that our efforts to increase our energy efficiency and reduce electricity demand will be successful. If the amount of water available to energy producers becomes increasingly scarce due to drought or diversion for other uses, as has occurred in recent years, our energy expenses may increase and our results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

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Any shortage or lack of water, and any failure to comply with applicable rules and regulations related to water usage and management, could materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.

In the last century, water use has grown globally at more than twice the rate of the population increase, and an increasing number of regions in the world are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered. According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (“FAO”), by 2025, an estimated 1,800 million people are expected to be living in countries or regions with “absolute” water scarcity (under 500 m3 per year per capita), and two-thirds of the world population may be under “stress” conditions (between 500 and 1,000 m3 per year per capita). Water is an essential input for our businesses and is used in the production of grains and other agricultural inputs required for our production processes. The industrial use of water may also adversely affect its availability. As a result, the shortage or lack of water represents a critical risk for our business and may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

The procedures that we have developed to reduce our water consumption, comply with applicable rules and regulations, and minimize our impact on the environment and the community may fail or be insufficient. Additionally, our assessments of the micro and macro watersheds in the regions in which we operate and the industrial activities and characteristics of the use of water resources may be inaccurate in understanding the local water demand growth. We may fail to accurately assess the water supply or anticipate water-related risks, and the increased industrial use of water by water intensive businesses may also adversely affect the continuing availability and quality of water in Brazil. This may result in us or our key suppliers encountering water shortages. Any of these factors may materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We may fail to ensure compliance with relevant anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and other international laws and regulations.

We are subject to anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and other international laws and regulations. We are required to comply with the laws and regulations of Brazil and various jurisdictions where we conduct operations. In particular, we are subject to the Brazilian Anti-Corruption Law nº 12,846, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (“FCPA”) and the United Kingdom Bribery Act of 2010. The FCPA prohibits providing anything of value to foreign officials for the purposes of obtaining or retaining business or securing any improper business advantage. As part of our business, we may deal with entities and employees that are considered foreign officials for purposes of the FCPA. In addition, we participate in certain public tenders and competitive bidding rounds for contracts involving public authorities in Brazil and potentially in other markets where we operate, which activities are typically subjected to heightened regulatory scrutiny and often require compliance with specific anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and other international laws and regulations.

Although we have internal policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and other international laws and regulations, potential violations of law have been identified on occasion as part of our compliance and internal control processes. In addition, we were notified of allegations involving potential misconduct by some of our employees in the context of the Carne Fraca Operation, Trapaça Operation and other investigations. For more details, see “Item 3.—D. Risk Factors— Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—We have been subject to significant investigations relating to, among other things, food safety and quality control, and an adverse outcome of any of these investigations could result in penalties, fines or other forms of liability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, brand, results of operations and financial condition” and “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings.” As a result of the Carne Fraca Operation and Trapaça Operation and related matters, we incurred expenses and recorded provisions for losses in inventories in the total amount of R$79.9 million in 2019 and R$ 492.8 million in 2018, which negatively impacted our results of operations. Additionally, these or other proceedings may result in penalties, fines, sanctions or other forms of liability. Furthermore, any negative reflection on our image or our brand from these or other activities could have a negative impact on our results of operations, as well as our ability to achieve our growth strategy.

Given the size of our operations and the complexity of our production chain, there can be no assurance that our internal policies and procedures will be sufficient to prevent or detect all inappropriate or unlawful practices, including fraud or violations of law or violations of our internal policies and procedures by our employees, directors, officers, partners or any third-party agents or service providers. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that such

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persons will not take actions in violation of our policies and procedures (or otherwise in violation of applicable laws and regulations) for which we or they may ultimately be held responsible. Violations of anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering or other international laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, brand, selling prices, results of operations and financial condition, including as a result of the closure of international markets. We may be subject to one or more enforcement actions, investigations or proceedings by authorities for alleged infringement of these laws. These proceedings may result in penalties, fines, sanctions or other forms of liability. Potential negative developments in the Carne Fraca Operation, Trapaça Operation and other investigations may also negatively affect the market price of our common shares and American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”).

We are subject to antitrust and competition laws and regulations and we may fail to ensure compliance with such laws and regulations.

We are subject to antitrust and competition laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate. Consequently, we may be subject to regulatory scrutiny in certain of these jurisdictions. For instance, on March 14, 2019, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) announced a decision regarding its investigation into our Turkish subsidiary Banvit and other producers for alleged anticompetitive practices in connection with chicken meat production in Turkey. The TCA imposed an administrative fine equivalent to R$22,507 thousand (TRY 30,518 thousand) against Banvit. For additional information, see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings—Civil, Commercial and Other Proceedings.”

There can be no assurance that our internal policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable antitrust and competition laws and regulations will be sufficient to prevent or detect all inappropriate or unlawful practices. As a result, we may be subject to one or more enforcement actions, investigations or proceedings by authorities for alleged infringement of these laws. These proceedings may result in penalties, fines, sanctions or other forms of liability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, brand, selling prices, results of operations and financial condition, including as a result of the closure of international markets. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that the introduction of new competition laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate, the interpretation of existing antitrust or competition laws, the enforcement of existing antitrust or competition laws by authorities or civil antitrust litigation by private parties, or any agreements with antitrust or competition authorities, against us or our subsidiaries will not have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

A failure to comply with export control or economic sanctions laws and regulations could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition and reputation.

We operate on a global basis and face risks related to compliance with export control and economic sanctions laws and regulations, including those administered by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States, including the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Economic sanctions programs restrict our dealings with certain sanctioned countries, individuals and entities. However, we have conducted, and may in the future seek to conduct, business in certain countries that are subject to sanctions under the laws of the United States or other countries. Although we have pursued these transactions, and intend to pursue any future transactions, in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations, we may not be successful in ensuring compliance with limitations or restrictions on business with companies in any such countries. If we are found to be in violation of applicable sanctions laws or regulations, we may face criminal or civil fines or other penalties, we may suffer reputational harm and our results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected. Additionally, there can be no assurance that our employees, directors, officers, partners or any third-parties that we do business with, including, among others, any distributors or suppliers, will not violate sanctions laws and regulations. We may ultimately be held responsible for any such violation of sanctions laws and regulations by these persons, which could result in criminal or civil fines or other penalties, have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition and damage our reputation.

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Failure to maintain adequate internal controls could adversely affect our reputation and business.

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal controls over financial reporting that provide reasonable assurance of the reliability of the preparation and reporting of our financial statements for external use. Inadequate internal controls may result in our failure to meet public reporting requirements accurately and on a timely basis and harm our reputation. The internal controls over financial reporting may not prevent or detect all misstatements or fraud, regardless of the adequacy of those controls, and, therefore, we cannot assure that material weaknesses will not be identified in the future.

Our failure to continuously innovate and successfully launch new products that address our clients’ needs and requirements, as well as maintain our brand image, could adversely impact our operating results.

Our financial success depends on our ability to anticipate changes in consumer preferences and dietary habits and our ability to successfully develop and launch new products and product variations that are desirable to consumers. The resources that we devote to new product development and product extensions may be insufficient and we may not be successful in developing innovative new products or our new products may not be commercially successful. For example, trends towards prioritizing health and wellness present a challenge for developing and marketing successful new lines of products to address these consumer preferences. Furthermore, a reduction in our investment in product development may negatively affect not only our ability to generate innovative solutions, but also the in-market success of any such products. Additionally, BRF employees working on innovation and research and development may move to one of our competitors, which would compromise our ability to deliver new and innovative products and may also result in our competitors gaining information we view as proprietary. To the extent that we are not able to effectively gauge the direction of our key markets and successfully identify, develop, manufacture and market new or improved products in these changing markets in a timely or cost-effective manner, our products, brands, financial results and competitive position may suffer, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

We also seek to maintain and extend the image of our brands through marketing, including advertising and consumer promotions. Due to inherent risks in the marketplace associated with advertising, promotions and new product introductions, including uncertainties about trade and consumer acceptance, our marketing investments may not prove successful in maintaining or increasing our market share. A continued global focus on health and wellness, including weight management, increasing media attention on the role of food marketing and negative press coverage about our quality controls and products, including in connection with the Carne Fraca Operation and Trapaça Operation, may adversely affect our brand image or lead to stricter regulations and greater scrutiny of food marketing practices.

Our success in maintaining, extending and expanding our brand image also depends on our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing media environment, including increasing reliance on social media and online dissemination of advertising campaigns. The growing use of social and digital media increases the speed and extent that information or misinformation and opinions can be shared. Negative posts or comments about us, our brands or our products on social or digital media could seriously damage our reputation and brand image. If we do not maintain or improve our brand image, then our sales, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We may divest or acquire businesses or enter into joint ventures, which may divert management resources or prove to be disruptive to our company.

We regularly review and pursue opportunities to rationalize our business through divestitures or expand by means of acquisitions, joint ventures and other initiatives. We have completed several divestitures and acquisitions in recent years.  For additional details on certain of these transactions, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—A. History and Development of the Company.” Divestments, acquisitions, new businesses and joint ventures, particularly those involving sizeable businesses, may present financial, managerial, operational and compliance risks and uncertainties, including:

·         challenges in realizing the anticipated benefits of the transaction;

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·         difficulties with managing various macroeconomic variables and their impact on the business;

·         difficulties with managing commercial relationships in various countries;

·         diversion of management attention from existing businesses;

·         difficulties with integrating/carving-out personnel, especially to different managerial practices;

·         disruptions when integrating or carving out financial, technological and other systems;

·         difficulties identifying suitable candidate businesses or consummating a transaction on terms that are favorable to us;

·         challenges in retaining an acquired company’s customers and key employees;

·         challenges related to the loss of key employees in connection with a divestment;

·         increased compensation expenses for newly-hired employees;

·         exposure to unforeseen liabilities or problems of the acquired companies or joint ventures;

·         warranty claims and claims for damages which may be limited in content, timeframe and amount;

·         legal challenges, including claims for indemnification;

·         challenges arising from a lack of familiarity with new markets with differing commercial and social norms and customs, which may adversely impact our strategic goals or require us to adapt our marketing and sales model for specific countries;

·         compliance with foreign legal and regulatory systems;

·         difficulties in transferring capital to new jurisdictions; and

·         challenges receiving the necessary approvals from governments and international antitrust authorities.

We may be unable to realize the strategic benefits from our divestitures or acquisitions in the timeframe we anticipate, or at all. In addition, we may be unable to identify, negotiate or finance future divestitures, acquisitions or other strategic initiatives successfully or on favorable terms. Any future joint ventures or acquisitions of businesses, technologies, services or products might require us to obtain additional equity or debt financing, which may not be available on favorable terms, or at all. Future divestitures, acquisitions and joint ventures may also result in unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures, as well as strain our organizational culture.

Political and economic risks in regions and countries where we have exposure could limit the profitability of our operations and our ability to execute our strategy in these regions.

Since we have business operations around the world, we are subject to a variety of risks that may adversely affect our financial results. In the regions where we have production and distribution activities, we are subject, among others, to the following risks:

·         governmental instability;

·         geopolitical risk and conflicts (including war, terrorism and civil unrest);

·         imposition of exchange or price controls;

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·         imposition of restrictions on exports of our products or imports of raw materials necessary for our production processes (including embargoes from countries where we have production and/or distribution activities);

·         fluctuation of local currencies against the real;

·         nationalization of our property;

·         political influence by local governments in communities where we operate requiring investments or other expenditures;

·         increases in export tax and income tax rates for our products; and

·         unilateral (governmental) institutional and contractual changes, including controls on investments and limitations on new projects.

As a result of these factors, our results of operations and financial condition in the regions where we have production and distribution activities may be adversely affected, and we may experience significant variability in our revenue from those operations. For instance, it is unclear to us if the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab countries may lead to measures, such as trade embargoes, that could ultimately impact our current operations in Qatar and in the Middle East. In addition, the Brazilian government opened a business representation office in Jerusalem in December 2019, which announcement earlier in 2019 had led to protests and unrest throughout the Middle East, and apprehension among Brazilian exporters who fear possible retaliation or embargoes from Arab countries on Brazilian exports. The impact of these changes on our ability to deliver on our planned projects and execute our strategy cannot be ascertained with any degree of certainty, and these changes may, therefore, have an adverse effect on our operations and financial results.

Deterioration of general economic and political conditions could negatively impact our business.

Our business may be adversely affected by changes in Brazilian and global economic and political conditions, which may result in increased volatility in our markets and contribute to net losses.

Global economic downturns and related instability in the international financial system have had, and may continue to have, a negative effect on economic growth in Brazil. Global economic downturns reduce the availability of liquidity and credit to fund the continuation and expansion of our business operations worldwide. While Brazil exports a diversified bundle of products to a variety of countries, a significant decline in the economic growth or demand for imports of any of Brazil’s major trading partners, such as the European Union, China or the United States, could have a material adverse impact on Brazil’s exports and balance of trade and adversely affect Brazil’s economic growth.

Furthermore, because international investors’ reactions to the events occurring in one emerging market country sometimes produce a “contagion” effect, in which an entire region or class of investment is disfavored by international investors, Brazil could be adversely affected by negative economic or financial developments in other countries. Such developments may affect the Brazilian economy in the future and, consequently, our results of operations.

Uncertainty as to whether the Brazilian government will implement significant changes in public policy in the future may contribute to economic uncertainty in Brazil and to heightened volatility in the Brazilian securities markets and the securities issued by Brazilian companies. As a result, there may be high volatility in the domestic financial markets in the short term, and economic recovery in the long term may be hindered. Accordingly, improvements in the labor market and income growth may be limited, which could have an adverse effect on our operations and financial results.

Furthermore, on June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom held an in-or-out referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership within the European Union, the result of which favored the exit of the United Kingdom

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from the European Union, or “Brexit.” The United Kingdom was initially expected to depart the European Union on March 29, 2019, but on March 21, 2019, the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed to extend the deadline for Brexit. The European Union and the United Kingdom agreed to a further extension on April 10, 2019. On January 2020, the United Kingdom announced it had officially exited the European Union and entered a transition period. Brexit has caused and may continue to cause political and economic uncertainty, including significant volatility in global stock markets and currency exchange rate fluctuations. The effects of Brexit will depend on many factors, including any trade deals that the United Kingdom makes to retain access to European Union markets. Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the United Kingdom determines which European Union laws to replace or replicate. If no trade deal is reached, there could be increased costs from re-imposition of tariffs on trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union, shipping delays because of the need for customs inspections and procedures, and temporary shortages of certain goods.  In addition, trade and investment between the United Kingdom, the European Union, Brazil and other countries will be impacted by the fact that the United Kingdom currently operates under the European Union’s tax treaties. The United Kingdom will need to negotiate its own tax and trade treaties with countries all over the world, which could take years to complete. The potential impact of Brexit on our market share, sales, profitability and results of operations is unclear. Depending on the terms of Brexit, economic conditions in the United Kingdom, the European Union and global markets may be adversely affected by reduced growth and volatility. The uncertainty before, during and after the period of negotiation could also have a negative economic impact and increase volatility in the markets, particularly in the Eurozone.

Pandemics or human disease outbreaks, such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 virus), may disrupt consumption and trade patterns, supply chains and production processes, which could materially affect our operations and results of operations.

 

Pandemics or human disease outbreaks, such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 virus) originating in China in late 2019 and declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, may adversely affect our business and operations.

While the extent and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic currently remains uncertain, it has already disrupted consumption and trade patterns, supply chains and production processes at a global scale and specifically relating to our business, including to the extent that anticipated product shipments may be substantially delayed either as a result of further spread of the virus or as a result of precautionary measures implemented by governments or commercial enterprises to limit the spread of the virus.

We continue to operate our plants, distribution centers, logistics, supply chain and administrative offices, although currently we have implemented a partial remote work program in some of our corporate offices. Our management has developed and implemented contingency plans to maintain the operations and monitors the effects of the pandemic through a permanent multidisciplinary monitoring committee, formed by executives, specialists in the public health area and consultants.

Customers from certain regions and channels in which we operate are being affected by COVID-19, mainly by the measures of social distancing imposed by authorities. We believe that there will be an increase in general customer default rates during the second quarter of 2020 and a consequent increase in expected credit losses. The further deterioration in the credit cycle of our customers may adversely affect our results and cash flows in the future, which we discuss in Note 36.2 to our consolidated financial statements.

Our operations include global production and distribution facilities, and if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in our facilities or the communities where we operate and distribute our products, our production, operations, employees, suppliers, customers and distribution channels could be severely impacted. Ports and other channels of entry may be closed or operate at only a portion of capacity, as workers may be prohibited or otherwise unable to report to work, and means of transporting products within regions or countries may be limited for the same reason, along with the potential for transport restrictions related to quarantines or travel bans.

Such a pandemic could also have an adverse impact on consumer demand, as quarantines may inhibit consumption, and restrictions on public gatherings or interactions may limit the opportunity for our customers and

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consumers to purchase our products. The consequences of such a pandemic could also result in a widespread health crisis that destabilizes commodity prices and the economies and financial markets of many countries, resulting in an economic downturn that could affect demand for our products and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Our results of operations are subject to cyclicality and volatility affecting the prices of commodities, poultry and pork, which could adversely affect our entire business.

Our business is largely dependent on the cost and supply of corn, soy meal, soybeans, hogs and other raw materials, as well as the selling prices of our poultry and pork. These prices are determined by supply and demand, which may fluctuate significantly, and other factors over which we have little or no control. These other factors include, among others, fluctuations in local and global poultry and hog production levels, environmental and conservation regulations, economic conditions, weather, animal and crop diseases, cost of international freight and exchange rate and interest rate fluctuations. In addition, prices for our raw materials, including corn, soy meal and soybeans, have been affected, and may continue to be affected, by the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. It is unclear whether this trade dispute will be resolved and what effects it may have on global political and economic conditions in the long term. Any changes in the price of raw materials required to produce our products as a result of the foregoing or other factors could have a material impact on our business.

Our industry, both in Brazil and abroad, is generally characterized by cyclical periods of higher prices and higher profitability, followed by overproduction, leading to periods of lower prices and lower profitability or losses. There can be no assurance that we will be able to adequately adapt to any such cyclicality or volatility, which may have an adverse effect on our operations and financial results.

Natural disasters or extreme weather, including floods, excessive cold or heat, hurricanes or other storms, as well as any interruption at our plants that may require the temporary re-allocation of plant functions to other facilities could, among other things, impair the health or growth of livestock or interfere with our operations due to power outages, damage to our production and processing facilities or disruption in transportation channels or information systems.

Our external market sales are subject to a broad range of risks associated with cross-border operations.

External market sales account for a significant portion of our global net sales, and represented 44.5% of our net sales in 2019, 43.3% of our net sales in 2018 and 43.3% of our net sales in 2017. Our external market is reported within our International business segment, which comprises Islamic markets (including Turkey, North of Africa, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Malaysia), Asia, Europe, Eurasia, Africa and Americas, where we are subject to many of the same risks described below in relation to Brazil. Furthermore, we may seek to expand sales of our products to additional international markets. Our future financial performance depends, to a significant extent, on the economic, political and social conditions in those regions as well as on our supply conditions.

Our future ability to conduct business operations in external markets could be adversely affected by factors beyond our control, such as:

·         exchange rate and interest rate fluctuations and the impact of hyperinflation;

·         commodities price volatility;

·         deterioration in global economic conditions;

·         political risks, such as turmoil and instability, foreign exchange controls and uncertainty regarding government policies;

·         decreases in demand, particularly from large markets such as China and Saudi Arabia;

·         imposition of increased tariffs, anti-dumping duties or other non-tariff trade barriers;

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·         restrictions on international trade and financial flows imposed due to balance of payments deficits;

·         strikes or other events affecting ports and other transport facilities;

·         unpredictable international border closings that restrict products, materials and people;

·         compliance with differing foreign legal and regulatory regimes;

·         strikes, not only of our employees, but also of port employees, truck drivers, customs agents, sanitary inspection agents and other government agents at the Brazilian ports from which we export several of our products;

·         access to adequate infrastructure, which could be affected by flooding or similar events;

·         sabotage affecting our products; and

·         negative media exposure related to the Brazilian agriculture and/or meat processing industry, including in connection with the Carne Fraca Operation, Trapaça Operation and/or other investigations.

We face significant competition from Brazilian and foreign producers, which could adversely affect our financial performance.

We face strong competition from other Brazilian producers in both the domestic and external markets. In addition, we compete with foreign producers in our external markets. The Brazilian market for whole poultry, poultry and pork cuts is highly fragmented.  Small producers, some of which operate in the informal economy, are able to offer lower prices by meeting lower quality standards. With respect to exports, we compete with other large, vertically integrated producers that have the ability to produce quality products at similarly low costs.

In addition, the size and growth potential of the Brazilian market for processed food, poultry, pork and beef combined with Brazil’s low production costs are attractive to international competitors. Although the main barrier to these companies entering the Brazilian market has been the need to build a comprehensive distribution network, including a network of outgrowers (outsourced farmers), foreign competitors with significant resources could undertake to build and/or acquire such capabilities.

The Brazilian poultry and pork cuts markets, in particular, are highly price-competitive and sensitive to product substitution. Even if we remain a low-cost producer, with strong brands, consumers may choose to purchase other products or brands. We expect to continue to face strong competition in all of our markets and anticipate that existing or new competitors may broaden their product lines and extend their geographic scope. Any delay or failure by us in responding to product, pricing and other strategies by competitors may negatively affect our financial performance.

Increased regulation of food safety and animal welfare could increase our costs and adversely affect our results of operations.

Our manufacturing facilities and products are subject to governmental inspections and extensive regulation in the food safety area, including governmental food processing controls in all countries in which we operate. We incur significant costs in connection with our efforts to comply with applicable food safety and processing rules. Changes in government regulations relating to food safety or animal welfare could require us to make additional investments or incur additional costs to meet the necessary specifications for our products. Our products are often inspected outside of Brazil by foreign food safety officials, and any failure to pass those inspections could result in us being required to return all or part of a shipment to Brazil, recall certain products, dispose of all or part of a shipment or incur costs because of delays in delivering products to our customers. Although Brazil currently has limited regulations regarding animal welfare, we have adopted various international animal welfare standards to address our customers’ expectations. Any tightening of food safety or animal welfare regulations could result in

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increased costs and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

Our performance depends on favorable labor relations with our employees, our compliance with labor laws and the safety of our facilities. Any deterioration of those relations, increases in labor costs or injuries at our facilities could adversely affect our business.

As of December 31, 2019, we had approximately 93,000 employees worldwide. Our production employees in Brazil and in countries where organized labor is prevalent are generally represented by labor unions. Upon the expiration of existing collective bargaining agreements or other collective labor agreements, we may be unable to reach new agreements with the labor unions and any such agreements may not be on terms satisfactory to us, which could result in higher payments of wages or benefits to union workers. Additionally, if we are unable to negotiate acceptable union agreements, we may become subject to work stoppages or strikes.

Labor costs are among our most significant expenditures. Such costs represented approximately 14.3% of our cost of sales in 2019. In the event of a review of our employee contract structure, additional operational expenses could be incurred. Additionally, in the ordinary course of business, we outsource some of our labor force, which subjects us to claims that may arise from these relationships, including claims directly against us as if we were the direct employer of the outsourced workers. In the event that a significant amount of these claims result in an unfavorable outcome against us, we may be held liable for amounts higher than our provisions, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial and operational condition and results of operations. In addition, if the outsourced activities are deemed by the authorities to be core activities, outsourcing may be considered illegal and the outsourced workers may be considered our employees, which would result in a significant increase in our costs and could subject us to administrative and judicial procedures by the relevant authorities and fines. We are also subject to increases in our labor costs due to Brazilian inflation and increases in health insurance costs. Material increases in our labor costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and prospects.

In addition, we face risks related to the safety of our facilities. If we fail to implement safety procedures or if the procedures we implement are ineffective or are not followed by our employees or others, our employees and others may be injured, which could result in costs for the injuries and lost productivity. Any of the foregoing could have an adverse impact on our business, results of operations and reputation.

Environmental laws and regulations require increased expenditures for compliance.

We, like other Brazilian food producers, are subject to extensive Brazilian federal, state and local environmental laws, regulations, authorizations and licenses concerning, among other things, the interference with protected areas, such as conservation units, archeological areas and permanent preservation areas, handling and disposal of waste, discharges of pollutants into the air, water and soil, atmospheric emissions, noise and clean-up of contamination, all of which affect our business. Water management is especially crucial and poses many challenges to our operations. In Brazil, water use regulations impact farming operations, industrial production and hydroelectric power. Any failure to comply with any of these laws or regulations or any lack of authorizations or licenses could result in administrative and criminal penalties, such as fines, cancellation of authorizations or revocation of licenses, in addition to negative publicity and civil liability for remediation or compensation for environmental damage without any caps. Civil penalties may include summons, fines, temporary or permanent bans, the suspension of subsidies by public bodies and the temporary or permanent shutdown of commercial activities. Criminal penalties include fines, temporary loss of rights and prison (for individual offenders) and liquidation, temporary loss of rights, fines and community service (for legal entities). Additionally, pursuant to Brazilian environmental laws, the corporate veil will be pierced (such that the stockholders of a company will be held liable for its debts) if necessary to guarantee the payment of costs related to the recovery of environmental damage whenever the corporate veil is deemed by a court to be an obstacle to obtaining compensation for environmental damage.

We have incurred, and will continue to incur, operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements to comply with these laws and regulations. Because of the possibility of unanticipated regulatory measures or other developments, particularly as environmental laws become more stringent in Brazil, the amount and timing of future expenditures required to maintain compliance may increase from current levels and may adversely affect the

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availability of funds for capital expenditures and other priorities. Compliance with existing or new environmental laws and regulations, as well as obligations in agreements with public entities, may result in increased costs and expenses.

Our plants are subject to environmental and operational licensing based on their pollution potential and use of natural resources. If one of our plants is built or expanded without an environmental license, or if our environmental licenses expire, are not timely renewed or have their request for renewal rejected by the competent environmental authority, we may incur fines and other administrative penalties, such as suspension of operations or closing of the facilities in question. Those same penalties may also be applicable in the case of a failure to fulfill the conditions of validity in the environmental licenses already held by us. Furthermore, we cannot operate a plant if the required environmental permit is not valid or updated. Currently, some of our environmental licenses are in the renewal process, and we cannot guarantee that environmental agencies will approve our renewal requests. Brazilian CONAMA (“Conselho Nacional do Meio Ambiente”) Resolution 237 establishes that renewal of environmental licenses must be requested at least 120 days in advance of their expiration, so that the licenses may be automatically extended until a final decision from the environmental authority is reached. In addition, the environmental agency may condition the renewal on expensive facility upgrades if there have been regulatory changes in the environmental standards that the plant is required to meet, which may result in delays, disruptions or in the denial of the license.

We are also subject to similar environmental laws and restrictions in all jurisdictions where we have plants and operations, which may require us to incur significant costs.

Unfavorable outcomes in administrative and legal proceedings may reduce our liquidity and negatively affect us.

We are defendants in civil and other proceedings (including administrative, regulatory and environmental), labor and tax proceedings and are also subject to consent agreements (Termo de Ajustamento de Conduta, or “TAC”). Unfavorable decisions in our legal proceedings may reduce our liquidity and have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

With regard to tax contingencies, we are currently defendants in a number of cases, which include, for example, disputes regarding the offset of tax credits and the use of tax incentives in several states that have not yet reached a final ruling in the Brazilian courts. In addition, we may face risks arising from potential impairment of input state VAT that we accumulate on exports.

As of December 31, 2019, we had R$1,794,369 thousand in provisions for contingencies, of which R$307,177 thousand was for civil and other contingencies (including administrative, regulatory and environmental), R$583,464 thousand was for tax contingencies, R$603,074 thousand was for labor contingencies and R$300,654 thousand was for contingent liabilities arising from business combinations.

We are also currently being investigated in the Carne Fraca Operation and Trapaça Operation, which may result in penalties, fines and sanctions from governmental authorities or other forms of liability. For more information about the “Carne Fraca Operation” and “Trapaça Operation” see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings—Carne Fraca Operation” and “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings—Trapaça Operation.” Any investigation from governmental authorities currently unknown to us with respect to any potentially unlawful business practice may also result in penalties, fines and sanctions or other forms of liability.

On March 12, 2018, a shareholder class action lawsuit was filed against us, some of our former managers and a current officer of ours in the U.S. Federal District Court in the Southern District of New York. On July 2, 2018, the Court appointed the City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System lead plaintiff in the action (the “Lead Plaintiff”). On December 5, 2018, the Lead Plaintiff filed an amended complaint that sought to represent all persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired BRF ADRs during the period from April 4, 2013, through and including March 2, 2018. The class action alleges, among other things, that BRF and certain of its officers and/or directors engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices related to the regulatory issues in connection with the Carne Fraca Operation and Trapaça Operation. On December 13, 2019, we and the other defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On January 21, 2020, the Lead Plaintiff filed an opposition motion and, on

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February 11, 2020, we and the other defendants filed our response. While the court’s decision on the motion to dismiss was still pending, the parties reached an agreement on March 27, 2020 to settle this class action for an amount equivalent to R$204.44 million (U.S.$40 million), subject to definitive documentation and court approval.

In addition, in 2019 we received two final and unappealable judicial decisions regarding the exclusion of ICMS from the tax basis of the social contributions of PIS and COFINS, which permitted us to recognize a significant amount of recoverable taxes, which are described in Note 9.2 to our consolidated financial statements. For a number of procedural reasons involved in finalizing the settlements for these judgments, it could take an extended period of time for us to receive these amounts, either as compensation or through obtaining a court ordered financial obligation (precatório).

In March 2020, three confidential arbitration proceedings were brought against us in the B3’s Market Arbitration Chamber (Câmara de Arbitragem do Mercado) in Brazil by investors that had purchased our shares traded on the B3, seeking recovery from alleged losses incurred by them, due to the price fall of our shares, during the period starting from April 4, 2013 and afterwards. Because these three arbitration proceedings are in their initial stages, we believe the possible loss or range of losses, if any, arising from these arbitrations cannot be estimated. In the event that these litigation or arbitration proceedings are decided against us, or we enter into an agreement to settle, there can be no assurance that an unfavorable outcome would not have a material impact on us.

Our inability or failure to protect our intellectual property and any intellectual property infringement against us could have a negative impact on our operating results.

Our principal intellectual property consists of our domestic and international brands. Our ability to compete effectively depends in part on our rights to trademarks, logos and other intellectual property rights we own or license. We have not sought to register or protect every one of our trademarks in every country in which they are or may be used, which means that third parties may be able to limit or challenge our trademark rights there. Furthermore, because of the differences in foreign intellectual property or proprietary rights laws, we may not receive the same level of legal protection in every country in which we operate. Litigation may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights, and if we do not prevail, we could suffer a material adverse impact on our business, goodwill, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Further, third parties may allege that our intellectual property and/or business activities infringe their own intellectual property or proprietary rights, and any litigation in this regard would be costly, regardless of the merits. If we are unsuccessful in defending any such third-party claims, or settling such claims, we could be required to pay damages and/or enter into license agreements, which might not be available under favorable terms. We may also be forced to rebrand or redesign our products to avoid the infringement, which could result in significant costs in certain markets. If we are found to infringe on any third party’s intellectual property, we could suffer a material adverse impact on our reputation, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

We are vulnerable to third party transportation and logistics risks, and we rely on a limited number of available third party suppliers to deliver certain specialized materials that we require for our production activities.

                We depend on fast and efficient transportation and logistics services to, among other things, deliver raw materials to our production facilities, deliver animal feed to our poultry and pork growers and distribute our products. Any prolonged disruption of these services may have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. For example, on May 21, 2018, a national truckers’ strike commenced in Brazil regarding increases in fuel prices. The strike materially disrupted the supply chain of various industries across the country, including the supply chain of raw materials to our production facilities and the delivery of animal feed to our poultry and pork growers, and, at its peak, led to the suspension of the operation of all of our production facilities located in Brazil. Furthermore, this strike also materially affected the regular functioning of the ports from where our products are exported. We incurred increased costs in connection with the truckers’ strike and also were required to dispose of certain animals as a result of the strike. There can be no assurance that the truckers will not seek to engage in any further strikes, that the Brazilian federal government or any other relevant party will be able to meet the demands of the truckers in a satisfactory manner or that any such strike will not adversely affect our supply chain or the operation of our production facilities. In addition, any other reduction in the dependability or

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availability of transportation or logistics services or a significant increase in transportation service rates, including as a result of, among other things, flooding in ports, warehouse fires or labor strikes, could impair our ability to satisfy our supply chain requirements and deliver our products economically to our customers. Any such disruption to the transportation or logistics services that we depend on could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, some of our production activities require specialized materials that we acquire from a limited number of available third party suppliers. For example, we rely on purchases of genetic material used in our livestock breeding programs from a very small number of livestock genetics companies. If any of these suppliers is not able to supply the materials in the quantity and at the frequency that we normally acquire them, and we are not able to replace the supplier on acceptable terms or at all, we may be unable to maintain our usual level of production and sales in the affected category of product, which may have a material adverse effect on our business and operations and, consequently, on our results of operations.

Damages not covered by our insurance policies might result in losses for us, which could have an adverse effect on our business.

Certain kinds of losses cannot be insured against via third-party insurance, and our insurance policies are subject to liability limits and exclusions. For example, political risks, environmental and climate events, fraud, strike, product recalls, fines and penalties, terrorism, the livestock itself, ammonia leakage, financial risks such decrease in stock prices, cybersecurity risks, sabotage, industrial espionage, natural disasters or other catastrophic events may cause damage or disruption to our operations, international commerce and the global economy, and thus could have a material adverse effect on us. Additionally, we are exposed to certain product quality risks, such as criminal contamination, avian influenza, salmonella and other livestock diseases that can impact our operations and which are not covered under insurance. If an event that cannot be insured occurs, or the damages are higher than our policy limits, we may incur significant costs. In addition, we could be required to indemnify parties affected by such an event. Furthermore, even where we incur losses that are ultimately covered by insurance, we may incur additional expenses to mitigate the loss, such as shifting production to different facilities. These costs may not be fully covered by our insurance.

From time to time, our facilities may be affected by fires, such as the fires in our facilities in Chapecó, State of Santa Catarina and Paranaguá, State of Paraná that occurred in 2016, in Lajeado, State of Rio Grande do Sul in 2017 and in Arroio do Meio, State of Rio Grande do Sul in 2019, and by flooding such as the flooding in our facility in Bandirma/Turkey in 2018, as well as by electrical damages or explosion in substations, or widespread truck driver strikes. Our business interruption insurance may not cover all of our direct and indirect costs and intangible costs in connection with disruptions to our operations. For example, the negative impacts on our business from the 2018 Brazilian truckers’ strike, including the suspension of operations at our production facilities and increased transportation and logistics costs, were not covered by any of our insurance policies. Any similar events in the future could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

Moreover, our insurance policies may not cover legal costs in general incurred to defend the company against legal and administrative proceedings. We have incurred, and expect to continue to incur, significant costs in connection with the Carne Fraca Operation, the Trapaça Operation and the shareholder class action filed on March 12, 2018. The costs associated with these investigations and the costs of defending the class action may not be covered by our insurance policies. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain insurance coverage in the future, related to the foregoing or any other matters, on terms acceptable to us. As a result, we may incur significant additional expenses which may adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.  

We depend on members of our senior management and on our ability to recruit and retain qualified professionals to implement our strategy.

We depend on members of our senior management and other qualified professionals to implement our business strategies. Efforts to recruit and retain professionals may result in significant additional expenses, which could adversely affect our results. In addition, loss of key professionals may adversely affect our ability to implement our strategy, as well as expenses associated to these losses can impact our results. In 2017 and 2018, we experienced a significant number of departures of senior management, including two of our previous CEOs, our

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CFO, our Chief Human Resources Officer (“CHRO”), our Brazil General Manager and our Vice President of Operations. In addition, on March 5, 2018, we called an Ordinary and Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting (the “Ordinary and Extraordinary General Meeting”), which was held on April 26, 2018, at the request of two of our shareholders, Caixa de Previdência dos Funcionários do Banco do Brasil, or “PREVI,” and Fundação Petrobras de Seguridade Social, or “PETROS,” which jointly hold approximately 20% of our capital stock. At the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Meeting, the number of members of our board of directors was set at 10 members, new members were elected to the board of directors and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the board of directors were elected. Only four of the ten board members elected during the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Meeting were previously members of our board of directors. Furthermore, pursuant to Novo Mercado rules, we expected Mr. Pedro Pullen Parente’s term as Chief Executive Officer to end on or before June 18, 2019, as he was only permitted to hold the positions of Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer at the same time for a period of one year. In connection with the end of Mr. Parente’s term as Chief Executive Officer, on March 28, 2019, the Company appointed Mr. Lorival Nogueira Luz Júnior, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer at the time, as Chief Executive Officer, and he began his term on June 18, 2019. On January 31, 2019, we appointed Mr. Ivan de Souza Monteiro as Chief Financial Officer, who took office on March 11, 2019 and remained in the position until April 25, 2019. As a result of Mr. Monteiro’s departure, Mr. Lorival Nogueira Luz Júnior was temporarily our acting Chief Financial Officer, and on August 13, 2019, we appointed Mr. Carlos Alberto Bezerra de Moura as the new Chief Financial Officer, who took office on September 16, 2019. These changes, and other potential changes, in the composition of our senior management team and our board of directors may result in modifications to our business strategy and have a material adverse effect on us.

Breaches, disruptions, or failures of our information technology systems, including as a result of cybersecurity attacks, could disrupt our operations and negatively impact our business and reputation.

Information technology is an important part of our business operations and we increasingly rely on information technology systems to manage business data and improve the efficiency of our production and distribution facilities and inventory management processes. We also use information technology to process financial information and results of operations for internal reporting purposes and to comply with regulatory, legal and tax requirements. In addition, we depend on information technology for digital marketing and electronic communications between our facilities, personnel, customers and suppliers. We also process personal data of our employees and customers. We depend on cryptography technology and electronic authentication programs provided by third parties to securely process the collection, storage and transmission of confidential information, including personal data.

Our information technology systems may be vulnerable to a variety of interruptions and cybersecurity threats and incidents. There are numerous and evolving risks related to cybersecurity and privacy, including criminal hackers, hacktivists, state-sponsored intrusions, industrial espionage, employee malfeasance and human or technological error. Computer hackers and others routinely attempt to breach the security of information technology systems and to fraudulently induce employees, customers and other third parties to disclose information or unwittingly provide access to systems or data. Successful cybersecurity attacks, breaches, employee malfeasance, or human or technological error may result in, for example, unauthorized access to, disclosure, modification, misuse, loss or destruction of data or systems, including those belonging to us, our customers or third parties; theft of sensitive, regulated or confidential data including personal information; the loss of access to critical data or systems through ransomware, destructive attacks or other means; transaction errors; business delays; and service or system disruptions. In the event of such actions, we, our customers and other third parties may be exposed to potential liability, litigation, and regulatory or other government action, the loss of existing or potential customers, loss of sales, damage to brand and reputation and other financial loss. In addition, if we are unable to prevent security breaches, we may suffer financial and reputational damage or penalties because of the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information belonging to us or to our partners, customers, consumers or suppliers. The cost and operational consequences of responding to cybersecurity incidents and implementing remediation measures may be significant and may not be covered by insurance. Our cybersecurity risk also depends on factors such as the actions, practices and investments of customers, contractors, business partners, vendors and other third parties.

Our efforts to monitor , identify, investigate, respond to and remediate security incidents, including those associated with cybersecurity attacks, may not be adequate or sufficient. The measures that we have implemented regarding technology security and disaster recovery plan may not be adequate or sufficient. There can be no

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assurance that these efforts and measures will be successful in preventing a cybersecurity attack, a general information security incident or a disruption of our information technology systems. The occurrence of any such events may materially adversely affect our operations, business and reputation. Furthermore, as our business and the cybersecurity landscape evolve, we may find it necessary to make significant further investments to protect our data and information technology infrastructure, which may adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

The regulatory environment with regard to cybersecurity, privacy and data protection issues is increasingly complex and may have impacts on our business, including increased risk, costs and expanded compliance obligations. For example, on May 25, 2018, the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27, 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (the “General Data Protection Regulation” or “GDPR”) became directly applicable in all member states of the European Union. Violations of the GDPR carry financial risks due to penalties for data breach or improper processing of personal data (including a possible fine of up to 4% of total worldwide annual turnover for the preceding financial year for the most serious infringements) and may also adversely affect our reputation and our activities relying on personal data processing. The Brazil General Data Privacy Law (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais), which was signed into law in August 2018 and will become effective in August 2020, and an increased number of data protection laws around the globe may continue to result in increased compliance costs and risks. See “—We are subject to risks associated with failure to comply with the data protection laws, and we may be negatively affected by the imposition of fines and other types of sanctions.” The potential costs of compliance with or imposed by new or existing regulations and policies that are applicable to us may affect our business and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

We are subject to risks associated with failure to comply with the data protection laws, and we may be negatively affected by the imposition of fines and other types of sanctions.

Law No. 13,709/2018, or the Brazilian General Data Protection Law, will come into force and take effect in August 2020 and will change the way the protection of personal data is regulated in Brazil. The Brazilian General Data Protection Law establishes a new legal framework to be observed in personal data processing operations and provides, among other things, for the rights of the owners of personal data, the legal bases applicable to the protection of personal data, the requirements for obtaining consent, obligations, requirements regarding security incidents, leaks and data transfers, as well as authorization for the creation of the Brazilian National Data Protection Authority.

If we do not comply with the Brazilian General Data Protection Law, both we and our subsidiaries may be subject to sanctions, either individually or cumulatively, including warnings, obligations to disclose incidents, temporary blocking and/or deletion of personal data, and penalties of up to 2% of our revenue or the revenue of our group or our conglomerate in Brazil in the last year, excluding taxes, up to a total amount of R$50 million per infraction. In addition, we may be held liable for material, moral, individual or collective damages caused by us, and may be held jointly and severally liable for material, moral, individual or collective damages caused by our subsidiaries, on account of failure to comply with the obligations set forth by the Brazilian General Data Protection Law.

Therefore, the failure to protect personal data processed by us and our subsidiaries, as well as the failure to adjust to the applicable legislation, may result in significant fines for us and our subsidiaries, disclosure of any incidents in the media, the deletion of personal data from our database, and even the suspension of our activities, which could adversely affect our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.

Risks Relating to Our Indebtedness

We have substantial indebtedness, and our leverage could negatively affect our ability to refinance our indebtedness and grow our business.

At December 31, 2019, our total consolidated loans and borrowings was R$18.6 billion.

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Our substantial indebtedness could have major consequences for us, including:

·         requiring that a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations be used for the payment of principal and interest on our debt, reducing the funds available for our operations, capital expenditures or other capital needs;

·         limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate because our available cash flow after paying principal and interest on our debt might not be sufficient to make the capital and other expenditures necessary to address these changes;

·         increasing our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions because, during periods in which we experience lower earnings and cash flows, we would be required to devote a proportionally greater amount of our cash flows to paying principal and interest on debt;

·         limiting our ability to obtain additional financing in the future to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and general corporate requirements;

·         increasing our expenditures due to depreciations of the Brazilian real, which can lead to an increased amount of capital needed to service indebtedness that are denominated in U.S. dollars;

·         making it difficult for us to refinance our indebtedness or to refinance such indebtedness on terms favorable to us, including with respect to existing accounts receivable securitizations;

·         placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to competitors that are relatively less leveraged and that may be better positioned to withstand economic downturns; and

·         exposing our current and future borrowings made at floating interest rates to increases in interest rates.

In view of our current credit metrics and according to the policies and guidelines set by ratings agencies in order to evaluate a company’s creditworthiness, as well as other factors, our credit rating has been recently downgraded, and we are currently rated below “investment grade” by all the rating agencies that rate us.

We have substantial debt that matures in each of the next several years.

As of December 31, 2019, we had R$3.1 billion of debt that matures in 2020, R$1.9 billion of debt that matures in 2021, R$2.1 billion of debt that matures in 2022, R$2.4 billion of debt that matures in 2023 and R$9.0 billion of debt that matures in 2024 and thereafter.

A substantial portion of our outstanding debt is denominated in foreign currencies, primarily U.S. dollars. As of December 31, 2019, we had R$11.0 billion of foreign currency debt, including R$0.3 billion of short-term foreign currency debt. Our U.S. dollar-denominated debt must be serviced by funds generated from sales by our subsidiaries, the majority of which are not denominated in U.S. dollars. Consequently, when we do not generate sufficient U.S. dollar revenues to cover that debt service, we must use revenues generated in reais or other currencies to service our U.S. dollar-denominated debt. Depreciation in the value of the real or any of the other currencies of the countries in which we operate, compared to the U.S. dollar, could adversely affect our ability to service our debt. Foreign currency hedge agreements may not be effective in covering these currency-related risks.

Any future uncertainty in the stock and credit markets could also negatively impact our ability to access additional short-term and long-term financing, which could negatively impact our liquidity and financial condition. If, in future years:

·         the pressures on credit return as a result of disruptions in the global stock and credit markets;

·         our operating results worsen significantly;

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·         we are unable to complete any necessary divestitures of non-core assets and our cash flow or capital resources prove inadequate; or

·         we are unable to refinance any of our debt that becomes due, we could face liquidity problems and may not be able to pay our outstanding debt when due, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated business and financial condition.

The terms of our indebtedness impose significant restrictions on us.

The instruments governing our consolidated indebtedness impose significant restrictions on us. These restrictions may limit, directly or indirectly, our ability, among other things, to undertake the following actions:

·         borrow money;

·         make investments;

·         sell assets, including capital stock of subsidiaries;

·         guarantee indebtedness;

·         enter into agreements that restrict dividends or other distributions from certain subsidiaries;

·         enter into transactions with affiliates;

·         create or assume liens; and

·         engage in mergers or consolidations.

The breach of any of the covenants to which we are subject could result in a payment default under the terms of other existing debt obligations. Upon the occurrence of such an event of default, all amounts outstanding under the applicable debt instruments and the debt issued under other debt instruments containing cross-default or cross-acceleration provisions, together with accrued and unpaid interest, if any, might become or be declared immediately due and payable. If such indebtedness were to be accelerated, we may have insufficient funds to repay in full any such indebtedness. In addition, in connection with the entry into new financings or amendments to existing financing arrangements, our subsidiaries’ financial and operational flexibility may be further reduced as a result of the imposition of covenants that are more restrictive, the requirements for additional security and other terms.

Risks Relating to Brazil

Brazilian economic, political and other conditions, and Brazilian government policies or actions in response to these conditions, may negatively affect our business, results of operations and the market prices of our common shares and the ADRs.

The Brazilian economy has historically been characterized by interventions by the Brazilian government and unstable economic cycles. The Brazilian government has often changed monetary, price controls, taxation, credit, tariff and other policies to influence the course of Brazil’s economy. Our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects as well as the market prices of our common shares and the ADRs may be adversely affected by, among others, the following factors:

·         exchange rate fluctuations;

·         expansion or contraction of the Brazilian economy;

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·         inflation rate fluctuations;

·         changes in fiscal or monetary policies;

·         commodities price volatility;

·         increases in interest rates;

·         exchange controls and restrictions on remittances abroad;

·         volatility and liquidity of domestic capital and credit markets;

·         natural disasters and changes in climate or weather patterns;

·         energy or water shortages or rationing;

·         changes in environmental regulation;

·         social and political instability, particularly in light of recent protests against the government;

·         strikes, not only of our employees, but also of port employees, truck drivers, other transport facilities, customs agents, sanitary inspection agents and other government agents; and

·         other economic, political, diplomatic and social developments in or affecting Brazil, including with respect to alleged unethical or illegal conduct of certain figures in the Brazilian government and legislators, which are currently under investigation.

Following a two-year contraction of 3.5% in GDP both in 2015 and 2016, the Brazilian economy posted moderate increases of 1.0% and 1.1% in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and again of 1.1% in 2019. Inflation, measured by the Extended National Consumer Price Index (Índice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo, or “IPCA”) published by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, or “IBGE”), increased to 4.31% in 2019, from 2.95% and 3.75% in 2017 and 2018, respectively.  Interest rates decreased to 4.5% in 2019, from 6.5% in 2018 and 7.00% in 2017. Unemployment had a slight improvement from 12.7% in 2017 to 12.3% in 2018 and to 11.9% in 2019, according to the National Household Sample Survey (Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílio) published by the IBGE.

In addition, various investigations into allegations of money laundering and corruption being conducted by the Office of the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor, including the largest such investigation, known as the “Lava Jato Operation,” have indirectly negatively impacted the Brazilian economy and political environment and are still ongoing.

A number of senior politicians, including current and former members of Congress and the Executive Branch, and high-ranking executive officers of major corporations and state-owned companies in Brazil were arrested, convicted of various charges relating to corruption, entered into plea agreements with federal prosecutors and/or have resigned or been removed from their positions as a result of these Lava Jato investigations. These individuals are alleged to have accepted bribes by means of kickbacks on contracts granted by the government to several infrastructure, oil and gas and construction companies. The profits of these kickbacks, which were not publicly disclosed, allegedly financed the political campaigns of political parties forming the previous government’s coalition that was led by former President Dilma Rousseff. These funds were also allegedly used for the personal enrichment of certain individuals. The effects of Lava Jato as well as other ongoing corruption-related investigations resulted in an adverse impact on the image and reputation of those companies that have been implicated as well as on the general market perception of the Brazilian economy, political environment and the Brazilian capital markets. We have no control over, and cannot predict, whether such investigations or allegations will lead to further political and economic instability or whether new allegations against government officials will arise in the future.

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Amidst this background of political uncertainty, in August 2016, the Brazilian Senate approved the removal from office of Brazil’s then-president, Ms. Dilma Rousseff, following a legal and administrative impeachment process for infringement of budgetary laws. Mr. Michel Temer, the former vice president, who assumed the presidency of Brazil following Rousseff’s ouster, was first arrested on March 2019, having been convicted of the crimes of cartel involvement, active and passive corruption, money laundering and public auction fraud. He was released and arrested again four days later, in May 2019, and then released once again six days later.  He continues to be under several investigation on corruption allegations.  In addition, the former president, Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, began serving a 12-year prison sentence on corruption and money laundering charges in April 2018, but he was released from prison in November 2019 following a Federal Supreme Court ruling. Mr. da Silva still faces pending charges and could return to prison if found guilty once all appeals are exhausted. A strong opposition figure, Mr. da Silva’s release from prison could further deepen political tensions in Brazil.

The new Brazilian president, Mr. Jair Bolsonaro, a former member of the military and three-decade congressman, was elected on October 28, 2018 and took office on January 1, 2019. During his presidential campaign, the new Brazilian president was reported to favor the privatization of state-owned companies, economic liberalization and social security and tax reforms. However, there is no guarantee that Mr. Bolsonaro will be successful in executing his campaign promises or passing certain favored reforms fully or at all. In addition, the current minister of the economy proposed during the presidential campaign the revocation of the income tax exemption for the payment of dividends, which, if enacted, would increase the tax expenses associated with any dividend or distribution by Brazilian companies. This could impact our ability to receive, from our subsidiaries, future cash dividends or distributions net of taxes and also our ability to make distributions to our shareholders net of taxes, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Moreover, Mr. Bolsonaro was generally a polarizing figure during his campaign for presidency, particularly in relation to certain of his social views, and we cannot predict the ways in which a divided electorate may continue to impact his presidency and ability to implement policies and reforms, all of which could have a negative impact on our business and the price of our common shares and ADRs.

In November 2019, the Brazilian government passed a pension reform after almost nine months of negotiations with Congress. In addition, the Brazilian federal government is expected to propose the general terms of a fiscal reform to stimulate the economy and reduce the forecasted budget deficit for 2020, but it is uncertain whether the Brazilian government will be able to gather the required support in the Brazilian Congress to pass such reforms. As of the date of this annual report, many of the proposed public expenses in Brazil’s budget have been maintained and it is not clear whether other expenses will be reduced or entirely eliminated. If some or all of these public expenses are maintained, Brazil will continue to run a budget deficit for 2020 and the years going forward. We cannot predict the effects of this budget deficit on the Brazilian economy. The political and economic instability in 2019 has negatively affected consumer confidence in Brazil. The Fundação Getúlio Vargas (“FGV”) Consumer index presented a 1.4 points decrease, from 93 points in 2018 to 91.6 points in 2019.

We cannot predict which policies the Brazilian federal government may adopt or change or the effect that any such policies might have on our business or on the Brazilian economy. Any such new policies or changes to current policies may have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. Worsening political and economic conditions in Brazil may increase production and supply chain costs and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Uncertainty as to whether the Brazilian government will implement changes in policies or regulations affecting these or other factors in the future may contribute to economic uncertainty in Brazil and to heightened volatility in our production operations.

Inflation and government measures to curb inflation may adversely affect the Brazilian economy, the Brazilian securities market, our business and operations, financial condition and the market prices of our common shares and the ADRs.

Brazil has experienced high inflation rates in the past, while recent downward inflationary pressures caused the Brazilian consumer price inflation rates to reach 2.95% in 2017, 3.75% in 2018 and 4.31% in 2019, according to the IPCA, published by the IBGE. See “Item. 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Principal Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations—Brazilian and Global Economic Conditions” and “—Effects of Exchange Rate Variations and Inflation.”

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Although inflation levels have been relatively stable in 2017, 2018 and 2019, there can be no assurance that inflation rates will not rise in the near future. Periods of higher inflation slow the growth rate of the Brazilian economy, which may lead to lower growth in consumption of food products. High inflation also puts pressure on industry costs of production and expenses, which may force companies to search for innovative solutions in order to remain competitive. We may not be able to pass any such increase in costs onto our customers and, as a result, it may adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, high inflation generally leads to higher domestic interest rates, and, as a result, the costs of servicing our debt may increase. Furthermore, inflation and its effect on domestic interest rates can lead to reduced liquidity in the domestic capital and lending markets, which could affect our ability to refinance our indebtedness and may have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and the market prices of our common shares and the ADRs.

Fluctuations in interest rates may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and the market prices of our common shares and the ADRs.

The Central Bank uses interest rates to attempt to keep inflation under control or to stimulate the economy. If interest rates decrease, there is generally greater access to credit and consumption of goods typically increases. This increase in demand can in turn result in inflation. On the other hand, if interest rates go up, the cost of borrowing increases which may inhibit consumption and additional investments. Another consequence of rising interest rates is that a greater return is paid in respect of government securities, which may impact other investments by making them less attractive by comparison. As a result, there may be additional investment in public debt, which absorbs money that could otherwise fund the private sector.

On December 31, 2019, 36.6% of our total loans and borrowings of R$18.6 billion was either (1) denominated in (or swapped into) reais and bears interest based on Brazilian floating interest rates, such as the Long-Term Interest Rate (Taxa de Juros de Longo Prazo, or “TJLP”), the interest rate used in our financing agreements with Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social, or “BNDES”), the Interbank Deposit Certificate Rate (Certificado de Depósito Interbancário, or “CDI”), an interbank certificate of deposit rate that applies to our foreign currency swaps and some of our other real-denominated indebtedness, or the IPCA or (2) U.S. dollar-denominated and bears floating interest based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). Any increase in the CDI, TJLP, IPCA or LIBOR rates may have an adverse impact on our financial expenses and our results of operations.

Exchange rate fluctuations may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

From time to time, there have been significant fluctuations in the exchange rate between the Brazilian currency and the U.S. dollar and other currencies. The real depreciated 13.4% and 47.0% in 2014 and 2015, respectively, appreciated 16.5% in 2016, and depreciated 1.5%, 17.1% and 4.1% in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, against the U.S. dollar.

Appreciation of the Brazilian real against the U.S. dollar may lead to a dampening of export-driven growth. Our production costs are denominated in reais, but our international sales are mostly denominated in U.S. dollars. Revenues generated by exports are reduced when translated to reais in the periods in which the real appreciates in relation to the U.S. dollar. Any appreciation could reduce the competitiveness of our exports and adversely affect our net sales and our cash flows from exports. On the other hand, a depreciation of Brazilian real against the U.S. dollar may lead to higher exports and revenues, but costs may be higher.

Costs are also directly impacted by exchange rates. Any depreciation of the real against the U.S. dollar could create additional inflationary pressures in Brazil by increasing the price of imported products and requiring deflationary government policies. In addition, the prices of soy meal and soybeans, which are important ingredients for our animal feedstock, are closely linked to the U.S. dollar, and many of the mineral nutrients added to our feedstock must be purchased in U.S. dollars. The price of corn, another important ingredient for our feedstock, is also linked to the U.S. dollar, but to a lesser degree. In addition to feedstock ingredients, we purchase sausage casings, breeder eggs, packaging and other raw materials, as well as equipment for use in our production facilities, from suppliers located outside Brazil whom we must pay in U.S. dollars or other foreign currencies. When the real depreciates against the U.S. dollar, the cost in reais of our U.S. dollar-linked raw materials and equipment increases, and these increases could materially adversely affect our results of operations. We have established policies and

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procedures to manage our sensitivity to such risks included in our Financial Risk Management Policy. This policy, however, may not adequately cover our revenue and cost exposure to exchange rates.

We had total foreign currency-denominated debt obligations in an aggregate amount of R$11,006.5 million at December 31, 2019, representing 59.1% of our total consolidated indebtedness at that date. Although we manage a portion of our exchange rate risk through foreign currency derivative instruments and future cash flows from exports in U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies, our foreign currency debt obligations are not completely hedged. A significant devaluation of the real in relation to the U.S. dollar or other currencies would increase the amount of reais that we would need in order to meet debt service requirements of our foreign currency-denominated obligations.

Changes in tax laws or changes in their interpretation may increase our tax burden and, as a result, negatively affect our results of operations and financial condition.

The Brazilian government regularly implements changes to tax regimes that may increase our and our suppliers’ and customers’ tax burdens, which may in turn increase the prices we charge for the products we sell, restrict our ability to do business in our existing markets and, therefore, materially adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

These changes include modifications in the tax rates and, on occasion, enactment of temporary taxes, the proceeds of which are earmarked for designated governmental purposes. In the past, the Brazilian government has presented certain tax reform proposals, which have been mainly designed to simplify the Brazilian tax system, to avoid internal disputes within and between the Brazilian states and municipalities, and to redistribute tax revenues. The tax reform proposals provide for changes in the rules governing the federal Social Integration Program (Programa de Integração Social, or “PIS”) and Contribution for Social Security Funding (Contribuição para o Financiamento da Seguridade Social, or “COFINS”) taxes, the ICMS and some other taxes, such as increases in payroll taxes and in the withholding tax over dividend distributions. It is uncertain whether these proposals will be approved and passed into law and, if approved, whether they will reflect these or any other changes to tax regimes. Other tax regimes, such as the research and development tax incentive program (“Lei do Bem”) and the deduction of interest on shareholders’ equity, may be revoked to increase the government’s revenues in light of a possible reduction in the income tax rate, which has been and is being studied by the new Brazilian government’s financial team. The effects of these proposed tax reform measures and any other changes that could result from the enactment of additional tax reforms have not been, and cannot be, quantified yet due to the uncertainty of whether any changes will be implemented. Some of these measures, if enacted, may result in increases in our overall tax burden, which may adversely affect our overall financial performance. For more information, see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Social Contributions.” Moreover, certain tax laws may be subject to controversial interpretation by tax authorities. In the event that tax authorities interpret tax laws in a manner that is inconsistent with our interpretations, we may be adversely affected.

Risks Relating to Our Common Shares and ADRs

Holders of ADRs may find it difficult to exercise voting rights at our shareholders’ meetings.

Holders of ADRs may exercise voting rights with respect to our common shares represented by American Depositary Shares (“ADS”) and evidenced by ADRs only in accordance with the deposit agreement governing the ADRs. Holders of ADRs face practical limitations in exercising their voting rights because of the additional steps involved in our communications with ADR holders. For example, we are required to publish a notice of our shareholders’ meetings in specified newspapers in Brazil. Holders of our common shares are able to exercise their voting rights by attending a shareholders’ meeting in person or voting by proxy. By contrast, holders of ADRs will receive notice of a shareholders’ meeting by mail from the ADR depositary if we give notice to the depositary requesting the depository to do so. To exercise their voting rights, holders of ADRs must instruct the ADR depositary on a timely basis. This voting process necessarily takes longer for holders of ADRs than for holders of our common shares. If the ADR depositary fails to receive timely voting instructions for all or part of the ADRs, the depositary will assume that the holders of those ADRs are instructing it to give a discretionary proxy to a person designated by us to vote their ADRs, to the extent permitted by the New York Stock Exchange rules.

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Holders of ADRs also may not receive the voting materials in time to instruct the depositary to vote our common shares underlying the ADSs that are evidenced by their ADRs. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions of the holders of ADRs or for the manner of carrying out those voting instructions. Accordingly, holders of ADRs may not be able to exercise voting rights, and they have little, if any, recourse if the common shares underlying the ADSs that are evidenced by their ADRs are not voted as requested.

Non-Brazilian holders of ADRs or common shares may face difficulties in protecting their interests because we are subject to different corporate rules and regulations as a Brazilian company, and our shareholders may have less extensive rights.

Holders of ADRs are not direct shareholders of our company and may be unable to enforce the rights of shareholders under our bylaws and the Brazilian Corporation Law.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our bylaws and the Brazilian Corporation Law, which differ from the legal principles that would apply if we were incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States, such as the State of Delaware or New York, or elsewhere outside Brazil. Even if a holder of ADRs surrenders its ADRs and becomes a direct shareholder, its rights as a holder of our common shares under the Brazilian Corporation Law to protect its interests relative to actions by our board of directors or executive officers may be limited compared to the laws of those other jurisdictions.

Although insider trading and price manipulation are crimes under Brazilian law, the Brazilian securities markets are subject to different levels of regulations and supervision compared to the U.S. securities markets or the markets in some other jurisdictions. In addition, rules and policies against self-dealing or for preserving shareholder interests may be less well defined and enforced in Brazil than in the United States and certain other countries, which may put holders of our common shares or ADRs at a potential disadvantage. Corporate disclosures also may be less complete or informative than for a public company in the United States or in certain other countries.

Non-Brazilian holders of ADRs or common shares may face difficulties in serving process on or enforcing judgments against us and other persons.

We are a corporation (sociedade anônima) organized under the laws of Brazil, and all of our directors and executive officers and our independent public accountants reside or are based in Brazil. Most of the assets of our company and of these other persons are located in Brazil. As a result, it may not be possible for non-Brazilian holders of ADRs or common shares to effect service of process upon us or these other persons within the United States or other jurisdictions outside Brazil or to enforce against us or these other persons judgments obtained in the United States or other jurisdictions outside Brazil. Because judgments of U.S. courts for civil liabilities based upon the U.S. federal securities laws may only be enforced in Brazil if certain conditions are met, holders may face greater difficulties in protecting their interests in the case of actions by us or our directors or executive officers than would shareholders of a U.S. corporation.

Judgments of Brazilian courts with respect to our common shares may be payable only in reais.

If proceedings are brought in the courts of Brazil seeking to enforce our obligations in respect of the common shares, we may not be required to discharge our obligations in a currency other than reais. Under Brazilian exchange control limitations, an obligation in Brazil to pay amounts denominated in a currency other than reais may only be satisfied in Brazilian currency at the exchange rate, as determined by the Central Bank, in effect on the date the judgment is obtained, and such amounts are then adjusted to reflect exchange rate variations through the effective payment date. The then prevailing exchange may not afford non-Brazilian investors with full compensation for any claim arising out of or related to our obligations under the common shares or the ADRs.

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Holders of ADRs and non-Brazilian holders of our common shares may be unable to exercise preemptive rights and tag-along rights with respect to our common shares underlying the ADSs evidenced by their ADRs.

Holders of ADRs and non-Brazilian holders of our common shares may be unable to exercise the preemptive rights and tag-along rights relating to our common shares (including common shares underlying the ADSs evidenced by their ADRs) unless a registration statement under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the “Securities Act,” is effective with respect to those rights or an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act is available. We are not obligated to file a registration statement with respect to the shares relating to these preemptive rights, and we cannot assure you that we will file any such registration statement. Unless we file a registration statement or an exemption from registration is available, a holder may receive only the net proceeds from the sale of his or her preemptive rights or tag-along rights, or if these rights cannot be sold, they will lapse and the holder will receive no value from them.

Provisions in our bylaws may prevent efforts by our shareholders to change our control or management.

Our bylaws contain provisions that may discourage, delay or make more difficult a change in control of our company or removal of our directors. Subject to limited exceptions, these provisions require any shareholder that acquires shares representing 33.3% or more of our share capital to disclose such information immediately through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (Comissão de Valores Mobiliários, or “CVM”) and, within 30 days from the date of such acquisition or event, commence a public tender offer with respect to all of our shares for a price per share that may not be less than the greater of: (i) 140% of the average trading price on the stock exchange trading the greatest volume of shares of the capital stock of the Company during the last 120 trading sessions prior to the date on which the public offer became obligatory; and (ii) 140% of the average trading price on the stock exchange trading the greatest volume of shares of the capital stock of the Company during the last 30 trading days prior to the date on which the public offer became obligatory.

These provisions of our bylaws may delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our shareholders.

Holders of ADRs could be subject to Brazilian income tax on capital gains from sales of ADRs.

Historically, any capital gain realized on a sale or other disposition of ADRs between non-Brazilian holders outside Brazil was not subject to Brazilian income tax. However, a December 2003 Brazilian law (Law No. 10,833, of December 29, 2003) provides that the acquirer, individual or legal entity resident or domiciled in Brazil, or the acquirer’s attorney-in-fact, when such acquirer is resident or domiciled abroad, shall be responsible for the retention and payment of the income tax applicable to capital gains earned by the individual or legal entity resident or domiciled abroad who disposes of property located in Brazil. The Brazilian tax authorities have issued a normative instruction confirming their intention to assess income tax on capital gains earned by non-Brazilian residents whose assets are located in Brazil. It is unclear whether ADSs representing our common shares and evidenced by ADRs, which are issued by the ADR depositary outside Brazil, will be deemed to be property located in Brazil for purposes of this law. Accordingly, we cannot determine whether Brazilian tax authorities will attempt to tax any capital gains arising from the sale or other disposition of the ADRs, even when the transaction is consummated outside Brazil between non-Brazilian residents.

Brazilian taxes may apply to a gain realized by a non-Brazilian holder on the disposition of common shares to another non-Brazilian holder.

The gain realized by a non-Brazilian holder on the disposition of common shares to another non-Brazilian holder (other than a disposition of shares held pursuant to Resolution No. 4,373, as amended of the Brazilian National Monetary Council (Conselho Monetário Nacional, or “CMN”)) is generally viewed as being subject to taxation in Brazil. Pursuant to Article 26 of Law No. 10,833/03, Brazilian tax authorities may assess income tax on capital gains earned by non-Brazilian residents in transactions involving assets that are located in Brazil. In case of a non-Brazilian holder selling common shares on the Brazilian stock exchange, the withholding tax rate would be 0% (in the case of a non-Brazilian holder registered as such before Brazilian Central Bank (“Bacen”) under the rules of the CMN (“Registered Holder”) and not a resident of a tax haven (“Tax Haven Resident”)), 15% (in the case of a

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non-Brazilian holder that is not a Registered Holder and not a Tax Haven Resident), or 25% (in the case of a non-Brazilian holder that is a Tax Haven Resident).

Any other gains realized on the disposition of common shares that are not carried out on the Brazilian stock exchange:

·         are subject to income tax at the following progressive rate when realized by any non-Brazilian holder that is not a Tax Haven Resident, whether or not such holder is a Registered Holder:

                                                         i.            15% upon the portion of capital gains not exceeding R$5,000,000.00;

                                                        ii.            17.5% upon the portion of capital gains that exceeds R$5,000,000.00 but not exceeding R$10,000,000.00;

                                                      iii.            20% upon the portion of capital gains that exceeds R$10,000,000.00 but not exceeding R$30,000,000.00; and

                                                      iv.            22.5% upon the portion of capital gains that exceeds R$30,000,000.00.

·         are subject to income tax at a rate of 25% when realized by an individual or legal entity that is a Tax Haven Resident, whether or not such holder is a Registered Holder.

The relative volatility and limited liquidity of the Brazilian securities markets may negatively affect the liquidity and market price of our common shares and ADRs.

The Brazilian securities markets, including the B3 S.A. – Brasil, Bolsa, Balcão (the “B3” or the “São Paulo Stock Exchange”) are substantially smaller, less liquid and more volatile than major securities markets in the United States. The Brazilian securities markets are also characterized by considerable share concentration.

The ten largest companies in terms of market capitalization represented approximately 48% of the aggregate market capitalization of the São Paulo Stock Exchange as of December 31, 2019. In addition, the ten most widely traded stocks in terms of trading volume accounted for approximately 30% of all shares traded on the São Paulo Stock Exchange in 2019. These market characteristics may substantially limit the ability of holders of the ADRs to sell common shares underlying ADSs evidenced by ADRs at a price and at a time when they wish to do so and, as a result, could negatively impact the market prices of these securities.

Developments and the perception of risks in other countries, especially emerging market countries, may adversely affect the market price of our common shares and ADRs.

The market for securities issued by Brazilian companies is influenced, to varying degrees, by economic and market conditions in other emerging markets. Although economic conditions are different in each country, the reaction of investors to developments in one country may cause the capital markets in other countries to fluctuate. Developments or adverse economic conditions in other emerging markets have at times resulted in significant outflows of funds from, and declines in, the amount of foreign currency invested in Brazil. In addition, economic and political crises in Latin America or other emerging markets may significantly affect perceptions of the risk inherent in investing in the region, including Brazil.

The Brazilian economy, as well as the market for securities issued by Brazilian companies, is also affected, to varying degrees, by international economic and market conditions generally, especially economic and market conditions in the United States.  Share prices on the São Paulo Stock Exchange, for example, have historically been sensitive to fluctuations in U.S. interest rates as well as movements of the major U.S. stock indexes.

Developments in other countries and securities markets could adversely affect the market prices of our common shares and the ADRs and could also make it more difficult for us to access the capital markets and finance our operations in the future on acceptable terms or at all.

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We may become a passive foreign investment company, which could result in adverse U.S. tax consequences to U.S. investors.

Based on our financial statements, relevant market and shareholder data, and the projected composition of our income and valuation of our assets, including goodwill, we do not believe that we were a passive foreign investment company, or “PFIC,” for U.S. federal income tax purposes for 2019, and we do not expect to be a PFIC for 2020, although we can provide no assurances in this regard.  If we become a PFIC, U.S. holders of our common shares or ADRs may become subject to increased tax liabilities under U.S. tax laws and regulations and will become subject to burdensome reporting requirements. The determination of PFIC status is fact-specific and will depend on the composition of our income and assets from time to time, and a separate determination must be made each taxable year as to whether we are a PFIC (after the close of each such taxable year). Specifically, for any taxable year we will be classified as a PFIC for U.S. tax purposes if either (i) 75% or more of our gross income in that taxable year is passive income or (ii) the average percentage of our assets (which includes cash) by value in that taxable year which produce or are held for the production of passive income is at least 50%.  The calculation of the value of our assets (including goodwill and certain intangible assets) will be based, in part, on the quarterly market value of our common shares and ADRs, which is subject to change.  Accordingly, it is possible that we may become a PFIC for 2020 or future taxable years due to changes in our income or asset composition. See “Item 10.  Additional Information—E.  Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company.”

ITEM 4.            INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.                  History and Development of the Company

BRF S.A. is a publicly-held company in Brazil and is therefore subject to the requirements of the Brazilian Corporation Law and the rules and regulations of the CVM and the B3.

We were founded as Perdigão by the Brandalise and Ponzoni families in 1934 as Ponzoni, Brandalise e Cia. in the southern State of Santa Catarina and remained under the Brandalise family’s management until September 1994. In 1940, we expanded our operations from general trading, with an emphasis on food and food-related products, to include pork processing. During the 1950s, we entered the poultry processing business. During the 1970s, we broadened the distribution of our products to include export markets, starting with Saudi Arabia. From 1980 through 1990, we expanded our export markets to include Japan in 1985 and Europe in 1990. We also undertook a series of acquisitions in the poultry and pork processing business and made investments in other businesses.

From 1990 through 1993, we suffered substantial losses because of increased financial expenses, underinvestment in product development, limited capacity and modest marketing of our products. By September 1994, we faced a liquidity crisis, as a result of which the Brandalise family sold their interest in our company, consisting of 80.68% of our common shares and 65.54% of our preferred shares, to eight Brazilian pension funds. Upon acquiring control of our company, the eight original pension funds hired a new team of executive officers who restructured management and implemented capital increases and modernization programs.

For additional information about our major shareholders, see “Item 7.  Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions––A. Major Shareholders.”

Our principal executive offices are located at Av. das Nações Unidas, 8501 – 1st Floor, Pinheiros, 05425-070, São Paulo, SP, Brazil, and our telephone number at this address is +55-11-2322-5000/5355/5048. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding registrants, such as BRF, that file electronically with the SEC. Our internet address is www.brf-br.com/ir.  From time to time, we may use our website as a channel of distribution of material company information. Financial and other material information regarding us is routinely posted on and accessible at www.brf-br.com/ir. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 20-F.

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Business combination with Sadia

On May 19, 2009, we signed a merger agreement with Sadia for a business combination of Sadia S.A. and Perdigão S.A. The business combination became fully effective on September 22, 2009, and Sadia became our wholly owned subsidiary. On December 31, 2012, we merged Sadia S.A., then a wholly-owned subsidiary, into BRF, and Sadia ceased to exist as a separate legal entity. In connection with the business combination, we changed our name from Perdigão S.A. to BRF – Brasil Foods S.A. On April 9, 2013, we changed our name from BRF – Brasil Foods S.A. to the current name BRF S.A.

Agreement with Lactalis

On September 3, 2014, we entered into a binding memorandum of understanding with Lactalis, a company controlled by Parmalat S.p.A., an Italian publicly held company pertaining to the Groupe Lactalis S.A. (or “Groupe Lactalis”) for the sale of our dairy division, including:  (i) manufacturing facilities located in the cities of Bom Conselho (PE), Carambeí (PR), Ravena (MG), Concórdia (SC), Teutônia (RS), Itumbiara (GO), Terenos (MS), Ijuí (RS), Três de Maio I (RS), Três de Maio II (RS) and Santa Rosa (RS), and (ii) related assets and trademarks (Batavo, Elegê, Cotochés, Santa Rosa and DoBon) dedicated to such segment. The transaction closed on July 1, 2015 for a total sale price of U.S.$697.8 million.

Corporate Reorganization of One Foods

On January 11, 2017, we established a new wholly-owned subsidiary, One Foods Holdings Limited, based in Dubai International Financial Centre, which is focused on Halal markets. The formation of this subsidiary involved a restructuring of certain of our operations in Malaysia and some countries in the Middle East and Africa, including (i) the sale and purchase agreement pursuant to which One Foods acquired equity interests in entities that serve the Halal market from BRF GmbH, a BRF wholly-owned subsidiary, and (ii) the contribution of the equity interest in SHB Indústria e Comércio de Alimentos S.A. (“SHB”) to One Foods. SHB held grain storage facilities, feed mills, outgrower agreements, hatcheries and eight slaughtering and processing plants in Brazil. In addition, we entered into certain agreements with One Foods that provided for the licensing of certain brands, operational and corporate activities, cost sharing and supply of raw materials and finished goods.

On September 1, 2018, BRF executed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with two of its subsidiaries, BRF Foods GmbH and One Foods Holding Ltd., to acquire all common shares of SHB. On December 12, 2018 at BRF’s extraordinary shareholders meeting, the merger of SHB with and into BRF was approved. The merger took effect on December 31, 2018, following its approval at the extraordinary shareholders meeting of SHB. 

Acquisition of Banvit – Turkey

On May 25, 2017, our subsidiary TBQ Foods GmbH (“TBQ”), a joint venture formed with the Qatar Investment Authority in May 2017, completed a transaction for the acquisition of 79.48% of the shares issued by Bandirma Vitaminli (“Banvit”), which is the largest poultry producer in Turkey, has fully integrated operations and owns one of the most recognized brands in Turkey. Through a subsequent tender offer process completed on August 17, 2017, TBQ’s ownership of Banvit increased to 91.71%. The total value of the transaction (including the purchase price paid in connection with the tender offer) was R$1.277 billion.

Sale of Quickfood

On December 7, 2018, we executed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with Marfrig Global Foods S.A. (“Marfrig”) for the sale of our total ownership interest in Quickfood (which constituted 91.89% of the capital stock of Quickfood). Quickfood was our subsidiary in Argentina and operated three beef slaughtering plants with a capacity of 620 heads per day and a processing capacity of approximately 6,000 metric tons per month of hamburgers, franks, cold products and frozen vegetables. The transaction closed on January 2, 2019, for an amount equivalent to R$191,291 thousand (US$49,937 thousand).

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Sale of Várzea Grande Plant

On December 7, 2018, we executed an agreement with Marfrig for the sale of R$100 million of both real estate assets and equipment from our plant located in Várzea Grande in the State of Mato Grosso, which produces, among other items, hamburgers, meatballs and kibbehs (a type of Middle Eastern beef patty popular in Brazil). This transaction closed on January 23, 2019 and, on April 1, 2019, a Supply Agreement with Marfrig became effective, under which Marfrig undertook to provide us with finished goods produced in the Várzea Grande plant, such as hamburgers, meatballs, kibbehs, chicken meat and processed chicken breast products for 60 months.

Sale of Avex

On December 19, 2018, we entered into a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement whereby we agreed to sell all of the issued and outstanding shares of our Argentinian subsidiary, Avex S.A., to Granja Tres Arroyos S.A. and Fribel S.A.. Avex S.A. operates three facilities located in Llavalol, Villa Mercedes and Rio Cuarto, in Argentina, for the production of poultry and margarine. This transaction closed on February 4, 2019, for an amount equivalent to R$169,726 thousand (US$44,824 thousand).

Sale of Assets in Europe and Thailand

On February 7, 2019, we agreed to sell to Tyson International Holding Co. most of our subsidiaries in Europe, including our Wrexham (UK) and Oosterwolde (Netherlands) processing plants, and our food processing and poultry slaughtering operation in Thailand.  This transaction closed on June 3, 2019, for an amount equivalent to R$1,488,033 thousand (US$382,106 thousand).

Other Transactions in 2018 and 2019

On December 6, 2018, the Company was notified by VDG Holding S.A. that it was exercising its right to terminate Minerva S.A.’s shareholders’ agreement entered into by the parties, as shareholders of Minerva S.A., on November 1, 2013, as a result of the Company holding less than 6% of the outstanding shares issued by Minerva S.A.

On December 18, 2018, the Company created a Brazilian receivables investment fund (“FIDC”) to acquire trade receivables of commercial transactions entered into by the Company and its customers in Brazil. The fund has three distinct classes of quotas and may reach an aggregate total volume of R$875 million.

On January 10, 2019, the Company executed an Asset Sale and Purchase Agreement with BOGS S.A. for the sale of its facility located in the city of Florencio Varela, Argentina, and all assets and liabilities related to it, including the brands “Bocatti” and “Calchaquí,”. The transaction closed on February 28, 2019, for an amount equivalent to R$95,036 thousand (US$26,753 thousand).

On January 10, 2019, the Company executed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with La Piamontesa de Averaldo Giacosa y Compañía S.A. for the sale of all of the capital stock of the Company’s Argentine subsidiary, Campo Austral S.A., including its facilities in San Andrés de Giles and Pilar and the brand “Campo Austral.” The transaction closed on March 11, 2019 for an amount equivalent to R$29,359 thousand (US$7,619 thousand).

On August 20, 2019, the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Badi Limited executed a Share Purchase Agreement with Al Takamul International Company for Commercial Investment Limited for the purchase of the remaining 25% of the capital stock that it did not own in Al Wafi Al Takamul International Company for Food Products Limited (“Wafi”), a company incorporated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia responsible for distributing BRF products in that country. The transaction closed on April 21, 2020 for an amount equivalent to R$100,390 thousand (US$19,000 thousand, translated to reais at the exchange rate of R$5.2837 as of April 20, 2020), at which point Wafi became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Badi Limited.

On September 5, 2019, the Company executed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with Sats Food Services Pte Ltd, providing for the terms and conditions for the sale of our interest in Singaporean food company Sats BRF Food Pte Ltd., equivalent to 49% of its capital stock. The transaction was concluded on September 5, 2019 for the amount equivalent to R$51 million (SGD17 million) and also encompassed the execution of a new contract for the distribution and licensing of brands owned by BRF.

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Carne Fraca Operation

We are currently being investigated in connection with the Carne Fraca Operation. For more information, see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings—Carne Fraca Operation.”

Trapaça Operation

We are currently being investigated in connection with the Trapaça Operation. For more information, see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings— Trapaça Operation.”

Capital Expenditures

The table below sets forth our capital expenditures with respect to operations for the periods indicated:

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

2019

2018

2017

 

(in millions of reais)

Property, plant and equipment

417.1

578.0

681.2

Biological assets

837.9

845.3

681.7

Business Combinations

-

-

1,119.7

Intangible assets

64.3

20.6

51.1

Total capital expenditures

1,319.3

1,443.9

2,533.7

*The amounts disclosed above do not include leases.                            

In 2019, as in the previous year, investments were made a priority to meet the regulation and adaptation of our asset base to safety and quality principles in line with our organizational culture.

In 2018, we focused our investments on our quality and security standards rather than acquisitions, reflecting the policies of our new board of directors.

In 2017, BRF focused on executing the nearly R$115.0 million of investments made in 2016 for the automation of company processes. The goal of these investments was to improve efficiency by increasing productivity and reducing production costs. We also invested R$136.5 million in international projects, more specifically our Toledo, Campos Novos and Rio Verde factories to increase pork production for the Chinese market. Additionally, in 2017, we invested R$20.1 million in a new production line for animal ingredients.

In 2020, in addition to existing projects, we expect to focus on pursuing our commitment to maximizing the use of our assets by making investments to help eliminate production constraints and increase overall efficiency. In addition, we will increase investments to expand in the markets we serve and take advantage of new commercial opportunities.

B.                  Business Overview

BRF S.A. is one of the largest producers of fresh and frozen protein foods in the world. We are committed to operating our business and delivering products to our global customer base in line with our core values: quality, safety and integrity. We have a portfolio of approximately 3,000 stock keeping units (“SKUs”). Our processed products include marinated and frozen chicken, Chester® rooster and turkey meats, specialty meats, frozen processed meats, frozen prepared entrees, portioned products and sliced products. We also sell margarine, sweet specialties, sandwiches and animal feed. We are the holder of brands such as Sadia, Perdigão, Qualy, Perdix, Confidence and Hilal. In 2019, BRF accounted for 11.6% of the world’s poultry trade, according to Trademap.

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Our portfolio strategy is focused on creating new, convenient, practical and healthy products for our consumers based on their preferences. We seek to achieve that goal through strong innovation to provide us with increasing value-added items that will differentiate us from our competitors and strengthen our brands.

With 34 industrial facilities in Brazil, we have among our main assets a distribution network that enables our products to reach Brazilian consumers through more than 555,000 monthly deliveries and 45 distribution centers as of December 31, 2019, 21 of which are in the domestic market and 24 of which are in our export markets.

In the international market, BRF has a leading brand, Sadia, in various categories in Middle Eastern countries. We maintain 21 offices outside of Brazil serving customers in more than 130 countries on five continents. We have one industrial facility in Abu Dhabi, one in Malaysia and three in Turkey.

We have been a public company since 1980. Our shares have been listed on the Novo Mercado of the São Paulo Stock Exchange as BRFS3 since 2006, and ADRs representing our common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, or “NYSE.”

A breakdown of our products is as follows, which are sold both in Brazil and to our international customers:

·         Meat Products, consisting of in natura meat, which we define as frozen whole and cut chicken, and frozen pork;

·         Processed Food Products including the following:

o    marinated, frozen, whole and cut chicken, roosters (sold under the Chester® brand) and turkey;

o    specialty meats, such as sausages, ham products, bologna, frankfurters, salami, bacon and other smoked products; and

o    frozen processed meats, such as hamburgers, steaks, breaded meat products, kibbeh and meatballs;

·         Other Processed Products including the following:

o    margarine; and

o    frozen prepared entrees, such as lasagna and pizzas, as well as other frozen foods; and

·         Other, consisting of soy meal, refined soy flour and animal feed.

Prior to the divestitures made in connection with our financial and operational restructuring plan, other processed products included mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup.

In Brazil, we operate 34 meat processing plants, three margarine processing plants, three pasta processing plants, one dessert processing plant and three soybean crushing plants, all of which are located near our raw material suppliers or the main consumer centers. We have an advanced logistics system in our domestic market, with 21 distribution centers, six of which are owned by us and 15 of which are leased from third parties, all of which serve supermarkets, retail stores, wholesale stores, restaurants and other clients.

In our International market, we operate five industrial facilities for meat processing. Additionally, after giving effect to the divestitures made in connection with our financial and operational restructuring plan, we continue to operate 24 distribution centers located in Asia, the Southern Cone and the Middle East as well as commercial offices on four continents.

We are also focused on addressing the impacts of climate change on the environment and our business. Among the initiatives that we have taken to reduce our exposure to climate change and to maintain our

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competitiveness in terms of costs is the monitoring of grain stocks and purchases and the constant monitoring of the weather in agricultural regions to guide our purchasing decisions, as well as anticipating price movements in the commodity markets. Other initiatives include technological innovations in our animal-raising facilities to improve efficiency and safeguard animal welfare. In addition, we recognize that consumers, investors and other stakeholders are more conscious of social and environmental aspects of the production chain. We have taken steps to address these concerns, for example by entering into a partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and joined the Collaboration for Forests and Agriculture (CFA) in 2019, with the aim of developing a more sustainable grain supply chain.

Our Industry

We manage our business to target both the Brazilian market and international markets.

Brazilian Market

As a Brazilian company, with a significant portion of our operations in Brazil, we are acutely affected by local economic conditions. Because of our significant operations in Brazil, fluctuations in Brazilian demand for our products affects our production levels and revenues.

Real GDP in Brazil increased at an average annual rate of 2.3% from 2004 through 2019.  For two consecutive years, in 2015 and in 2016, Brazil’s GDP decreased by 3.5%, after increasing 0.5% in 2014. Reacting to this weak economic scenario, the Central Bank lowered the Special System for Settlement and Custody (Sistema Especial de Liquidação e de Custódia, or “SELIC”) interest rate, which is the short-term benchmark interest rate. Overall, the long-term trend remains downward, from 17.8% as of December 31, 2004 to 4.5% as of December 31, 2019.  For the year ended December 31, 2019, the IPCA increased by 4.31%.

The unemployment rate and consumer confidence levels also have an impact on consumption levels in Brazil. The average unemployment rate for 2019 was 11.8%, an increase of 0.2 percentage points when compared to the 11.6% of 2018. The Consumer Confidence Index for December 2019 was 91.6%, 1.4 percentage points below that in December 2018 of 93.0%.

According to the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (Associação Brasileira de Supermercados, or “ABRAS”) in December 2019, supermarket sales in real terms (deflated by the IPCA), increased 2.3% compared to December 2018. For the full year, supermarket sales in real terms rose 3.6% in 2019 as compared to 2018.

Export Markets

The information set forth in this “Export Markets” subsection relates to Brazilian exports as a whole and not only to exports of our company.

Brazilian chicken exports increased by 2.8% in the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, in terms of volume. Pork exports registered an increase of 16.2% in volume sold in the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. Beef exports recorded an increase of 12.9% in volume in the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to the year ended December 31, 2018.

Brazilian chicken exports in the year ended December 31, 2019 totaled 4.2 million tons on sales of R$28.17 billion. China is the main destination for these exports (13.9%), followed by Saudi Arabia (11.1%), Japan (10.1%) and the United Arab Emirates (8.1%).

Pork export volume in the year ended December 31, 2019 totaled 750.3 thousand tons, totaling around R$6.45 billion. The leading importers, China, Hong Kong and Chile represented 33.2%, 21.7% and 5.9%, respectively, of total exports from Brazil.

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Beef shipments in the year ended December 31, 2019 totaled 1.81 million tons with sales of around R$29.77 billion. This increase in volume was driven by higher exports sent to China and Hong Kong, which import 27.2% and 18.2% of Brazilian beef exports, respectively.

For a discussion on the global economic conditions and further information on the conditions on our export markets and the Brazilian market, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—D. Trend Information.”

Products

We are a food company that focuses on the production and sale of poultry, pork and processed foods.

Poultry

We produce frozen whole and cut poultry. In 2019, we slaughtered approximately 1.56 billion heads of poultry, a 0.9% increase compared to 1.55 billion in 2018. We sold 2,018 thousand tons of frozen chicken and other poultry products in 2019, compared to 2,064 thousand tons in 2018, excluding our discontinued operations. Most of our poultry sales are to our export markets.

As a result of the trade barriers imposed by the European Union, we have significantly reduced our production of turkey since 2018, as the European Union was our main consumer market for this product. For additional information, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—More stringent trade barriers in key export markets may negatively affect our results of operations.”

Pork and Beef

In 2019, we slaughtered approximately 9.62 million hogs and 34,413 cattle, compared to 9.84 million and 154,571 in 2018, respectively. We raise hogs but do not raise cattle at our facilities. Although most of the hogs that we slaughter are used for processed products in the domestic market, we also produce frozen pork and beef cuts, such as loins and ribs, and whole carcasses. In 2019, we sold 270 thousand tons of pork and beef cuts, excluding our discontinued operations, compared to 252 thousand tons of pork and beef cuts in 2018. We are also further developing our international customer base for pork and beef cuts.

Processed Food Products

We produce processed foods, such as marinated and frozen chicken, Chester® rooster and turkey meat, specialty meats, frozen processed foods, frozen prepared entrees, portioned products and sliced products. Part of our strategy is to develop additional processed food products in these and other categories because these products tend to be less price-sensitive than our frozen poultry and pork products. We sold 1,830 thousand tons of processed foods in 2019, compared to 1,869 thousand tons in 2018, excluding our discontinued operations. Most of our sales of processed foods are to our domestic market. We believe that there are opportunities to market value-added products like these to targeted regions and other market segments in Brazil as well as to expand our sales in the export market.

Our processed food products strategy relies on accurate brand management, a varied product portfolio with strategic pricing and innovation and service excellence, which we believe will allow our products to expand their reach both in the Brazilian market and international markets.

Specialty Meats

We process pork to produce specialty meats, such as sausages, ham products, bologna, frankfurters, salamis, bacon and cold meats. We also process chicken and other poultry to produce specialty meats, such as chicken sausages, chicken hot dogs and chicken bologna.

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Frozen Processed Meats

We produce a range of frozen processed poultry, pork and beef products, including hamburgers, steaks, breaded meat products, kibbeh and meatballs.

Marinated Poultry

We produce marinated and seasoned chickens, roosters (under the Chester® brand) and turkeys. We originally developed the Chester® breed of rooster to maximize the yield of breast and leg cuts. In 2004, we sold our rights to the Chester® breed of rooster to Cobb Vantress, a U.S. poultry research and development company engaged in the production, improvement and sale of broiler breeding stock, and we entered into a technology agreement under which Cobb Vantress manages the Chester® breed of rooster. We continue to oversee the production of Chester® roosters in Brazil from hatching to distribution, and we own the trademarks for the Chester® line of products.

Halal Products

We offer poultry products for Islamic markets in accordance with the Halal method of animal slaughtering.

Margarine

We sell margarine under the Qualy, Deline and Claybom brands. We maintain our leading market position with the Qualy brand by bringing innovation to the Brazilian market. For example, in 2014 we introduced the first aerated margarine in Brazil and in 2016 we improved the Qualy portfolio by adding a proprietary mix of vitamins and minerals to our products, which is called the Q-Mix. Additionally, in 2017 we introduced the first margarine with whole grains, Qualy Multigrãos. This technology to add grains inside the margarine is protected under a patent in partnership with our equipment supplier. In 2018, we launched Qualy Light Zero Lactose, the first zero lactose margarine in the Brazilian market.

Frozen Prepared Entrees

We produce a range of frozen prepared entrees, some of which contain poultry, beef and pork meat that we produce, including those listed below.

·         Pastas and Pizzas. We produce several varieties of lasagna, pizza and other ready-to-eat meals. We produce the meat used in these products and buy other raw materials in the domestic market.

·         French Fries. We sell frozen French fries, which are imported from Belgium where they are produced and packaged for us by third parties. Prior to the divestitures made in connection with our financial and operational restructuring plan, we sold other frozen vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, peas and French beans.

·         Pies and Pastries. We produce a variety of pies and pastries, such as chicken and heart-of-palm pies. We produce the meat, sauces and toppings used in our pies and pastries, and we purchase other raw materials, such as heart-of-palm, lime and other fillings from third parties.

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Frozen desserts

We have produced and sold Miss Daisy deserts since 1999. We believe the Miss Daisy brand has a leading market position and has been highly resilient to market changes. We offer a wide variety of products under the Miss Daisy brand, including:

·         Mousse pie;

·         Dutch pie; and

·         Frozen mousse.

Other

We produce animal feed mainly to feed poultry and hogs raised by us, although we also sell a small portion to our integrated outgrowers and to unaffiliated customers. In 2019, we produced 9,480.75 thousand tons of feed and PREMIX, compared to 9,559.56 thousand tons in 2018. We also produce a limited range of soy-based products, including soy meal and refined soy flour.

Overview of Brazil’s Poultry, Pork and Beef Position in the World

Poultry

Brazil was the second largest producer and the leading exporter of poultry in the world in 2019 based on estimates calculated by the United States Department of Agriculture, or the “USDA.” Brazil’s production, consumption and export volumes for poultry have increased significantly over the past several years. This growth has been driven by the increase of Brazilian companies’ production dedicated to exports as well as by the competitiveness of Brazilian poultry.

According to the USDA, global poultry trade increased 4.3% in 2019 compared to 2018, mainly due to higher exports from the European Union (which increased 8.3%); Thailand (which increased 7.1%) and Ukraine (which increased 26.2%). According to the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (Associação Brasileira de Proteína Animal, or “ABPA”), exports of poultry parts increased 3.4% in 2019 compared to 2018, representing 66.5% of the total poultry exported volumes. Whole chicken, which represented 26.0% of the total volume, decreased 1.1% in 2019 compared to 2018. The main destinations in 2019 were China, Saudi Arabia,  Japan and United Arab Emirates. In 2019, Saudi Arabia decreased total imports from Brazil by 3.6%, China increased total imports from Brazil by 33.6%, Japan increased total imports from Brazil by 6.5% and United Arab Emirates increased by 10.2% compared to 2018.

The following tables identify Brazil’s position within the global poultry industry for the years indicated:

 

World Broiler Production

Primary Broiler Producers

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – “ready to cook” equivalent)

U.S.

19,906

19,361

18,938

Brazil

13,635

13,355

13,612

European Union (28 countries)

12,460

12,200

11,912

China

13,100

11,700

11,600

Russia

4,740

4,872

4,617

India

4,902

4,855

4,640

Mexico

3,625

3,485

3,400

Thailand

3,300

3,170

2,990

Turkey

2,300

2,225

2,188

Argentina

2,171

2,110

2,150

Japan

1,720

1,685

1,661

Others

17,147

16,736

16,094

 

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Primary Broiler Exporters

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – “ready to cook” equivalent)

Brazil

3,715

3,687

3,847

U.S.

3,259

3,245

3,137

European Union (28 countries)

1,545

1,427

1,323

Thailand

885

826

757

China

430

447

436

Others

1596

1596

1519

Total

11,701

11,289

11,043

 

Primary Broiler Consumers

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – “ready to cook” equivalent)

U.S.

16,664

16,184

15,826

China

13,235

11,595

11,475

European Union (28 countries)

11,655

11,536

11,281

Brazil

9,925

9,671

9,768

Russia

4,785

4,785

4,786

India

4,900

4,852

4,638

Mexico

4,468

4,301

4,198

Japan

2,800

2,761

2,688

Thailand

2,455

2,345

2,226

Argentina

2,025

1,955

1,978

South Africa

1,830

1,877

1,778

Others

22,263

21,769

21,282

 

Source: USDA, January 2020. 

Pork

Brazil was the fourth largest producer, exporter and consumer of pork in the world in 2019, according to the USDA. Brazil’s production and consumption of pork has increased since 2009. The USDA expects a decrease in global production of 9.1% and a decrease in pork consumption of 8.9% in 2020. According to the USDA, global pork exports reached 9,476 thousand tons in 2019. Brazilian pork breeding and slaughtering companies continue to increase their efficiency of production. Research and development has also helped to reduce fat, cholesterol and calories in pork produced in Brazil. These enhancements allow for more efficient production of prime cuts, more meat per carcass and more nutritious and healthier meat. Improved genetic potential of breeders has also contributed to the production increase.

According to the ABPA, as of December 2019, China was Brazil’s primary destination for pork followed by Hong Kong, representing 33.2% and 21.7%, respectively, of total Brazilian pork exports. Chinese and Hong Kong imports from Brazil increased 61.1% and 0.9%, respectively, from December 31, 2018 to December 31, 2019.

The following tables identify Brazil’s position within the global pork industry for the years indicated:

 

World Pork Production

Main Pork Producers

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – weight in equivalent carcass)

China

46,500

54,040

54,518

European Union (28 countries)

23,980

24,082

23,660

U.S.

12,543

11,943

11,611

Brazil

3,975

3,763

3,725

Russia

3,240

3,155

2,959

Vietnam

2,400

2,811

2,741

Others

13,363

13,144

12,851

Total

106,001

112,938

112,065

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Main Pork Exporters

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – weight in equivalent carcass)

European Union (28 countries)

3,650

2,933

2,858

U.S. 

2,856

2,665

2,555

Canada

1,330

1,331

1,351

Brazil

860

730

786

China

130

203

208

Chile

240

200

171

Mexico

215

178

170

Others

195

205

198

 

Main Pork Consumers

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – weight in equivalent carcass)

China

48,970

55,398

55,930

European Union (28 countries)

20,345

21,163

20,817

U.S.

10,126

9,748

9,541

Brazil

3,310

3,035

2,941

Russia

3,197

3,197

3,296

Vietnam

2,435

2,796

2,713

Others

16,968

17,005

16,373

Total

105,351

112,342

111,611

 

Source: USDA, January 2020. 

Beef

Brazil was the third largest producer and consumer, and the largest exporter of beef in the world in 2019, according to the USDA. From 2019 to 2020, the USDA estimates an increase in global beef production and consumption of approximately 0.01% and 0.4%, respectively, and also an increase in exports of 2.5%.

The following tables identify Brazil’s position within the global beef industry for the years indicated:

 

World Beef Production

Main Beef Producers

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – weight in equivalent carcass)

U.S.

12,381

12,256

11,943

European Union (28 countries)

8,030

8,003

7,869

Brazil

7,875

9,900

9,550

China

6,850

6,440

6,346

India

4,287

4,265

4,250

Argentina

3,120

3,050

2,840

Australia

2,450

2,306

2,149

Mexico

2,020

1,980

1,925

Pakistan

1,820

1,800

1,780

Turkey

0

1,400

1,399

Others

12,771

11,077

10,936

Total

61,604

62,477

60,987

 

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Main Beef Consumers

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – weight in equivalent carcass)

U.S.

12,408

12,180

12,052

China

9,133

7,910

7,313

Brazil

7,914

7,866

7,750

European Union (28 countries)

7,862

8,024

7,838

India

2,687

2,709

2,401

Argentina

2,372

2,562

2,547

Others

17,108

19,388

19,156

Total 

59,484

60,639

59,057

 

Main Beef Exporters

2019

2018

2017

 

(in thousands of tons – weight in equivalent carcass)

Brazil

2,356

2,082

1,856

Australia

1,825

1,662

1,485

India

1,600

1,556

1,849

U.S.

1,372

1,434

1,297

New Zealand

649

633

593

Others

3,512

3,200

2,888

Total

11,314

10,567

9,968

 

Source: USDA, January 2020.

The following graphic is a simplified representation of our meat production chain.

Production Process

We are a vertically integrated producer of poultry and pork products. We raise poultry and hogs, produce animal feed, slaughter the animals, process poultry and pork to produce processed food products and distribute unprocessed and processed products throughout Brazil and in our export markets.

The following graphic is a simplified representation of our meat production chain.

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Poultry

At the beginning of the poultry production cycle, we purchase breeder chicks in the form of eggs from Aviagen of Brazil. We send these eggs to our grandparent stock farms, where the eggs are hatched, and the chicks are raised, constituting our grandparent breeding stock. The eggs produced by our grandparent breeding stock are then hatched, and our parent breeding stock is produced. We also buy a small percentage of our parent stock from another supplier, Cobb Vantress. The parents produce the hatchable eggs that result in day-old chicks that are ultimately used in our poultry products. We produced 1.63 billion day-old chicks and 12.5 million day-old turkeys in 2019. We hatch these eggs in our 27 hatcheries.

We send the day-old chicks, which we continue to own, to outgrowers, whose operations are integrated with our production process. The farms operated by these outgrowers vary in size and are near our slaughtering facilities. These integrated outgrowers are responsible for managing and growing the poultry in their farms under the supervision of our veterinarians. The payments to outgrowers are based on performance rates determined by bird mortality, the feed-to-meat conversion ratio and the quantity of meat produced and are designed to cover their production costs and provide net profits. We provide feed, veterinary and technical support to the outgrowers throughout the production process. We have business arrangements with approximately 6,900 integrated poultry outgrowers. Many of these outgrowers also produce and sell corn that we use to produce animal feed.

As of December 31, 2019, we had a fully automated slaughtering capacity of 33.1 million heads of poultry per week.

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Pork

We produce the majority of the pork we use in our products. We also purchase pork on the spot market.

Piglet producers either purchase parent breeder hogs produced by our company or from producers such as Agroceres and DanBred. We generally purchase piglets from integrated outgrowers near our production facilities, which raise the piglets until they reach a specified weight, or we purchase young piglets from farmers who own breeder hogs.  We transfer these piglets to separate integrated outgrowers, who raise the hogs until they reach slaughtering weight, and then transport the hogs from these outgrowers to our slaughtering facilities. We have agreements with a total of 2,685 integrated outgrowers, including piglet producers and hog raisers. We monitor the production of the hogs by these outgrowers and provide support from our veterinarians.

The local producers from whom we purchase a portion of our pork needs are also located near our production facilities but are not parties to partnership agreements with us. These producers generally raise the hogs from birth until they reach slaughtering weight, but we provide limited technical support. We purchase the hogs raised by these local producers pursuant to contracts with the local producers.

We slaughter the hogs raised by our outgrowers or purchased from local producers or on the spot market. After they are slaughtered, the hogs are immediately cut in half. The half-carcasses are then separated based on their intended use. These parts become the raw material for the production of pork cuts and specialty meats.

As of December 31, 2019, we had a pork slaughtering capacity of 190,950 heads per week.

Beef

We had a beef slaughtering capacity of 14,400 heads per week until October 1, 2014 when BRF and Minerva signed an Investment Agreement, pursuant to which BRF allocated its beef slaughtering plants in Várzea Grande and Mirassol as well as the BRF employees involved in these activities to a closed capital company that was incorporated within Minerva. BRF received an equity interest in Minerva in connection with this transaction. The transaction closed on October 1, 2014. On December 7, 2018, we executed an agreement with Marfrig for its acquisition in the amount of R$100 million of real estate and equipment from our plant located in Várzea Grande in the State of Mato Grosso, which produces approximately 69,000 tons of hamburger meat per year. This transaction closed on January 23, 2019 and, on April 1, 2019, a Supply Agreement with Marfrig became effective, under which Marfrig undertook to provide us with finished goods produced in the Várzea Grande plant, such as hamburgers, meatballs, kibbehs, chicken meat and processed chicken breast products for 60 months.

Processed Foods

We sell a variety of processed foods, some of which contain poultry and pork meat that we produce. BRF has a total production capacity of 197 thousand tons/month across 16 production units in Brazil (Chapecó, Marau, Capinzal, Toledo, Videira, Lucas do Rio Verde, Rio Verde, Uberlândia, Concórdia, Tatuí, Vitória de Santo Antão, Herval d’Oeste, Lajeado, Ponta Grossa, Paranaguá and Duque de Caxias) processing meat products (such as mortadella, franks, sausage, hamburger and breaded) and non-meat products (such as lasagna, ready-to-eat meals and pizzas) for both the domestic and international markets. In Tatuí, in the State of São Paulo, we produce ready-to-eat sandwiches, lasagnas, pizzas, cheese breads and other pasta and bakery items. In Ponta Grossa, in the State of Paraná, we produce pizzas, pastas, desserts (Miss Daisy) and other processed products. Our Rio Verde plant is adjacent to our Rio Verde poultry and pork slaughtering facilities, and we transport pork from other production facilities to be used as raw materials. We purchase most of the remaining ingredients for our lasagnas, pizzas, pies and pastries in the domestic market from third parties. Such seasonings and secondary raw materials are applied to each product type or line according to established criteria and procedures to ensure consistency of color, texture and flavor. The presentation of final products is achieved by shaping, casing, cooking and freezing in special machines. Products are then subjected to quality controls and distributed to the consumer market after having been packaged, labeled and boxed.

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In November 2014, BRF opened its first plant in the Middle East, with a total capacity of 70 thousand tons/year, aiming to supply the local Middle Eastern market, Europe and Asia. This plant produces franks, breaded, hamburger, mortadella and marinated chicken breast.

We also sell frozen French fries, which are imported from Belgium where they are produced and packaged for us by third parties. Prior to the divestitures made in connection with our financial and operational restructuring plan, we sold other frozen vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, peas and French beans.  In addition, we produce soy-based products, such as soy meal and refined soy flour, at our plants in Videira, located in the State of Santa Catarina, Dois Vizinhos, in the State of Paraná, and in Toledo, also in the State of Paraná.

The raw material for margarine is crude soybean oil, which is subjected to refining and bleaching processes. We produce margarines in our plants in Paranaguá, State of Paraná, Uberlândia, State of Minas Gerais and Vitória de Santo Antão, under the Qualy, Deline and Claybom brands and in the State of Pernambuco under the brands Qualy and Deline. We sell these products as part of our strategy to diversify our product lines and to take advantage of our distribution network for refrigerated products.

We also sell halal food, which is the food allowed for Islamic consumption. The halal poultry needs to undergo a specific religious/technical procedure of slaughtering and processing, assuring that it was produced according to the Islamic requirements and that it had no contact with prohibited foods or ingredients. In addition, the Brazilian Federal Inspection Service (Serviço de Inspeção Federal, or “SIF”) of MAPA may establish additional requirements for halal food production that we must comply with. BRF is assisted by Islamic entities that are responsible for slaughtering and certifying all of our halal products.

Feed

We produce most of the feed consumed at the farms operated by our integrated poultry and hog outgrowers. We provide feed to most of our integrated poultry and hog outgrowers as part of our partnership arrangements with them. We also sell animal feed to local hog producers at market rates.

We own 24 feed and PREMIX production plants and have an additional three feed plants from third parties that are 100% dedicated to BRF. The basic raw materials used in animal feed production are corn and soy meal mixed with preservatives and micronutrients.  In 2018 and 2019, we also purchased corn from rural producers and small merchants, through cooperatives and from trading companies such as Coamo, Bunge, Cargill and others. The corn is grown primarily in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Minas Gerais. We buy soy meal from major producers such as Bunge, Cargill and Amaggi, primarily pursuant to long-term contracts. The prices of corn, soybeans and soy meal fluctuate significantly, influenced by international quotes and local currency rates. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Principal Factors Affecting our Results of Operations—Commodity Prices.”

Other Raw Materials

We purchase other materials required for our products, such as prepared animal intestines (for sausage casings), cardboard boxes and plastic (for packaging), micronutrients (for animal feed), spices and veterinary drugs from third parties, both in the domestic and international markets.

Suppliers

One of our strategies is to build more efficient relationships with our suppliers by using selection criteria to assess suppliers based on the quality of the product, the product performance and reliability.

We have a Chain Monitoring System that is structured to strengthen social and environmental risk control, support an ethical and responsible business model and develop sustainable partnerships. We seek to accomplish this by undertaking quality audits, distributing and requiring supplier adherence to our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct, following the Policy for Related-Party Transactions, consulting public data and also including certain related obligations in our contracts with suppliers. Our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct, which is posted on our website and

46


 
 

agreed to in advance by our suppliers, regulates our relationship and focuses on ethical behavior, social and environmental responsibility. We are focused on a stronger risk management approach, especially with respect to quality, integrity and safety, as well as sustainability and compliance.

In 2019, we created the internal process for suppliers to comply with our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct and established internal procurement standards setting forth this process (“Procurement Standards”). The process was led by an internal working group focused on ensuring effective Suppliers’ Code of Conduct implementation, mitigating risks to the Company and strengthening our relationships with our stakeholders. Beginning in September 2019, all new suppliers are required to confirm compliance with our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct before being registered on our internal systems.

The Procurement Standards provide for certain exceptions to the rule requiring suppliers to accept our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct. For example, suppliers are not required to accept our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct if they are a public entity connected to the government or if they have their own code of conduct, in which case they may fill out a short form indicating the website where their code of conduct is available or attaching it to the form. If a supplier refuses to accept our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct and does not fall into the exceptions set forth by the Procurement Standards, the situation will be directed to our internal critical committee for analysis. Our critical committee consists of members from the legal, compliance and procurement departments. If our critical committee is unable to reach a decision, the matter is referred to our executive committee for resolution.

In the case of conflicts of interest with suppliers, we have a specialized team that analyzes the risk of maintaining or replacing the specified supplier. Additionally, through biweekly reviews of publicly available data in Brazil, we identify suppliers that do not comply with legal requirements and/or BRF’s standards. When evaluating suppliers, we regularly analyze, among other things, the following: environmental practices, labor relations and practices and general compliance with laws and regulations. We are in the process of standardizing our monitoring program across all of BRF’s departments, but all of BRF’s new suppliers are required to follow the Suppliers’ Code of Conduct and the Policy for Related-Party Transactions, whether in connection with a contract or spot purchase.

The evaluation and appropriate selection of suppliers and maintaining relationships with those suppliers is critical to our market competitiveness. The supplier assessment process often involves the simultaneous consideration of various aspects of the supplier’s performance, including price, innovation, delivery time, quality and post-sales support, along with its social and environmental policies and performance. Our process follows established guidelines, supported by systems and rules to be followed by all members of our procurement team. In 2018, we implemented our purchasing system – Ariba SAP, which is an advanced purchasing tool intended to strengthen our compliance function. In 2019, we implemented a new module within the purchasing system, called Ariba Network, which is focused on the relationship between our contract managers and suppliers. This improvement reinforces our commitment to compliance and transparency in our routine processes by ensuring an accurate evaluation of our contracted services and facilitating robust communication between our suppliers and our systems.

Tracking and auditing are continually monitored through internal and external audits to ensure that our processes are constantly improving and aligned with our norms and codes, compliance and sustainability efforts.

Brazilian Market

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, both in terms of land mass and population. For 2019, Brazil had an estimated population of 209.7 million people, according to figures from the IBGE. Brazil’s GDP amounted to R$6.6 trillion in 2017, R$6.8 trillion in 2018 and R$7.2 trillion in 2019. In 2019, GDP increased by 1.1% in nominal terms and 0.3% per capita compared to 2018.

Inflation measured by the National Amplified Consumer Price Index (known as the IPCA - Índice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo), published by the IBGE, came to 2.95% 2017, 3.75% in 2018 and 4.31% in 2019 following a trend of relatively high rates. The end-of-period exchange rate, as measured by the Brazilian Central Bank, was R$3.31/U.S.$1.00 in 2017, R$3.87/U.S.$1.00 in 2018 and R$4.03/U.S.$1.00 in 2019, with the real depreciating by 4.1% in 2019 compared to 2018.

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Brazil is one of the largest meat consumers in the world, with per capita consumption in 2019 of 99.9 kilograms, including beef, chicken and pork products, according to the USDA, an increase of 1.3% compared to 2018. Demand for poultry and pork products in the domestic market is directly affected by the country’s economic conditions. Given the slight economic recovery in 2019, meat consumption increased in 2019 compared to 2018. As further economic improvement is expected for 2020—market analysts consulted by the Central Bank expect that GDP will increase by 2.3%, while inflation is expected to remain low at 3.47%—meat consumption should increase in 2020. Brazil’s domestic market is highly competitive, particularly for fresh food and frozen poultry and pork products. Besides BRF, there are many large producers, including Seara Alimentos S.A. (“Seara”) (which was acquired from Marfrig by JBS in 2013), Cooperativa Central Aurora Alimentos (“Aurora”) and JBS. The main producers in the fresh food market face strong competition from a large number of small producers which operate in the informal economy and sometimes offer low quality products at lower prices than those of the large producers. BRF seeks to develop quality products, focusing on innovative solutions that meet clients’ needs and capture value for the strong brands it owns, such as Sadia and Perdigão.

The processed food sector is more concentrated than the fresh food sector in terms of the number of competitors. Consumption of processed products is influenced by a number of factors, including the level of consumer income and marketing efforts directed at meeting consumer demand for more value-added products. We believe that processed foods also represent an opportunity for growth in the coming years.

We estimate the following market information based on available data from A.C. Nielsen, which is reported to them by us and by some of our competitors:

·         the Brazilian industrialized food market had revenues of approximately R$21,543 million in 2019 compared to R$20,187 million in 2018;

·         the Brazilian frozen food market had revenues of approximately R$4,607 million in 2019 compared to R$4,174 million in 2018; and

·         the Brazilian margarine market had revenues of R$3,837 million in 2019 compared to R$3,901 million in 2018.

These figures do not include BRF data by region or category of products that are not covered by the A.C. Nielsen figures.

International Markets

Brazil is a leading producer in global export markets due to its natural advantages (land, water, and climate), competitive inputs costs and increasing efficiencies in animal production. Like other large Brazilian producers, we have capitalized on these advantages to develop the scope and scale of our business.

Global demand for Brazilian poultry, pork and beef products is significantly affected by trade barriers, including both (i) tariff barriers, which ultimately protect certain domestic markets, and (ii) non-tariff barriers, mainly including import quotas, sanitary barriers and technical/religious barriers. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Principal Factors Affecting our Results of Operations––Effects of Trade and Other Barriers” for additional information.

Sales

We sell our products both in the domestic and export markets around the world. Net sales to the Brazilian market, including most of our processed foods, accounted for 52.3%, 54.0% and 53.6% of our net sales in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Net sales to international markets, including most of our frozen whole and cut chickens and other poultry and frozen pork cuts and beef cuts, accounted for 44.5%, 43.3% and 43.5% of our net sales in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.

The table below sets forth the breakdown of our net sales for the periods indicated:

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2019

2018

2017

Brazilian Market

 

 

 

Poultry

11.0%

10.6%

9.5%

Pork/Beef

2.8%

2.7%

2.8%

Processed food products

38.4%

40.7%

41.3%

Other Sales

0.0%

0.1%

0.1%

Total Brazilian market

52.3%

54.0%

53.6%

 

International Markets

 

 

 

Poultry

33.7%

33.2%

31.6%

Pork/Beef

3.8%

2.7%

5.1%

Processed food products

6.3%

6%

5.5%

Other Sales

0.5%

1.2%

1.5%

Total International markets

33.7%

33.2%

31.6%

 

 

 

 

Other Segments

 

 

 

Poultry

0.1%

0.3%

0.1%

Pork/Beef

0.0%

1.8%

0.0%

Processed food products

0.0%

0.5%

0.0%

Other Sales

3.0%

2.6%

2.8%

Total Other Segments

3.2%

2.7%

2.9%

Total

100%

100%

100%

 

Seasonality

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Seasonality” for information regarding seasonality.

Overall Comparison of the Company’s Net Sales for the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018

Brazil

We cover substantially all of the Brazilian population through a nationwide distribution network. In the domestic market, we sell our products directly to supermarkets, wholesalers, retail stores, food services and other institutional buyers. The graphs below set forth our Brazilian net sales to supermarkets, retail stores, wholesalers and food services buyers as a percentage of total domestic net sales for the periods indicated.

Our domestic distribution network comprises 21 distribution centers  in several Brazilian states.  Refrigerated trucks transport our products from our processing plants to the distribution centers and from the distribution centers to our customers. We have 28 transit points, previously referred as cross-docking points, in several areas of the country that enable us to unload products from large refrigerated trucks onto smaller trucks or

49


 
 

vans for transportation to our customers. We own six of our distribution centers and lease the remaining 15 centers, which are listed below under “—Property, Plant and Equipment.” We do not own the vehicles used to transport our products—we contract with carriers to provide this service for us on an exclusive basis.

International

We operate in three business segments which primarily reflect our geographical structure: Brazil, International (including Islamic markets in the Middle East, North Africa, Malaysia and Eastern Europe, as well as Africa, Asia, Europe, Eurasia and the Americas) and Other Segments. The graphs below set forth a breakdown of our export net sales by segment.

 

   

Competition

Brazil

Brazil’s domestic market is highly competitive, particularly for fresh food and frozen poultry and pork products. BRF endeavors to develop quality products, focusing on innovative solutions that meet clients’ needs and capture value for the strong brands it owns, such as Sadia and Perdigão.

In the processed meat and margarine categories, the most recently available percentage of our market share in Brazil in 2019 as reported by A.C. Nielsen shows that BRF has significant representation in the domestic market, as demonstrated in the graph below, which is separated by retail categories:

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Source: A.C. Nielsen Bimonthly Retail – Margarines and Ready-Made Dishes (October/November 2019 survey); Filled and Chilled (November/December 2019 survey)

 

Because A.C. Nielsen gathers data from those in the industry who report to it voluntarily in the areas of the country and categories covered by it, the overall market sizes on which these percentages were based are smaller than our own internal estimates of the market sizes that we describe above under “—Brazilian Market.” 

JBS is our main competitor in the domestic market. In the processed meat segment, we compete against JBS. In the specialty meat market, we compete against Aurora and JBS, while the remainder of the market is represented by several small producers. In the frozen product market (which includes hamburgers, steaks, breaded meat, meatballs and pasta), we are the leader in terms of market share, followed by JBS, Aurora and Pif Paf Alimentos S.A. (“Pif Paf”) and other smaller producers. In the margarine market, we also maintained a leading position with respect to market share, followed by Bunge Alimentos S.A., JBS (under the brand Doriana) and Vigor Alimentos S.A.

In the Brazilian market for in natura meat (whole poultry, poultry and pork cuts), we face competition from small producers, some of which operate in the informal economy and offer lower quality products at lower prices. This competition from small producers is one of the reasons why our production of chicken and pork is more focused on the external market than the domestic market compared to other players in Brazil.

Considering the current improving macroeconomic context in Brazil and its positive impact on the consumption of animal protein, the processed food market is growing and the expectations in the medium and long-terms indicate continued expansion. In that context, to take advantage of growth opportunities, we are focused on executing an innovation agenda based on consumer needs (healthy, premium and practical), expanding to new categories and consumption occasions and implementing a targeted brand positioning strategy (communication, activations, brand architecture and portfolio stretch). In addition, to increase market share, our opportunities are related to enhancing brand power and value perception, increasing distribution capacity, expanding the offer of superior quality products and implementing a revenue management strategy.

International

We face significant competition in our international markets, both from Brazilian producers and from producers in other countries. Cooperatives are increasingly relevant competitors, as they have tax advantages and certain mobility to reassign their production to foreign markets at times when exports become more attractive than the domestic market. In addition, JBS is one of our direct competitors in the international market that has many of the same competitive advantages that we have over producers in other countries, including natural resources and competitive input costs.

Our chicken and pork cuts, in particular, are price-sensitive and sensitive to substitution with other products. Customers sometimes seek to diversify their sources of supply in different countries, even though we often have a lower cost of production.

Protectionist measures among Brazil’s trading partners are also an important competitive factor. Brazilian exports of poultry and swine are increasingly affected by actions taken by other countries to protect local producers.

Our net sales in the international market reached R$14.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 14.1% from 2018. Despite the still-challenging international market environment in 2019, we believe we export more than our main Brazilian competitors, as BRF is one of the largest poultry exporters in the world. In 2019, BRF accounted for 11.6% of the world’s poultry trade, according Trademap.

In our international markets, our competition is based on quality, cost, prices and service to our customers.

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Distribution of Products

Brazilian Market

As of December 31, 2019, we operated 21 distribution centers and 28 transit points. In 2019, we improved productivity based on new technologies in our Brazilian distribution and a reduction of lead time in deliveries.

International Markets

We export our products mainly through the ports of Itajaí, Navegantes and Itapoá in the state of Santa Catarina. We also export our products through Rio Grande in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Paranaguá in the state of Paraná and Santos in the state of São Paulo. We store our products in refrigerated storages that are owned and operated mainly by third parties located at ports in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. In 2019, we packed more than 64% of our export containers at plants, referred to as loading “fresh frozen products.” We contract with exclusive third-party carriers to transport our products from our production facilities to the ports, and we ship our products to export markets through independent shipping companies.

All the ports that we use to load our cargo are private terminals from third parties. We have occasionally experienced disruptions at the ports as a result of logistics challenges, including flooding, strong currents, small drafts, strong winds/waves and winter fog. 

Our sales and distribution efforts abroad are coordinated through offices in Austria, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, South Africa, Uruguay, Chile, Turkey and Malaysia. We coordinate our marketing efforts and provide sales support to customers in our main international markets through these offices. Our distribution arrangements in our international markets vary according to the market.

Europe. On May 14, 2018, the European Union released its decision to remove 12 of our production facilities in Brazil from the list that permits imports of animal products by the countries in the European Union. Given the ban of imports from our production facilities, we are no longer able to sell our products from such embargoed production plants in the European Union. This suspension on certain products from Brazilian producers caused challenges for our operations in Europe and required us to reorganize our sales and distribution network by strengthening our partnerships with other food processors, food service operators and local distributors. Furthermore, we leveraged our global sourcing network to supply the European market with products produced outside of Brazil. On February 7, 2019, we agreed to sell to Tyson International Holding Co. most of our subsidiaries in Europe, including our Wrexham (UK) and Oosterwolde (Netherlands) processing plants, and our food processing and poultry slaughtering operation in Thailand. This transaction closed on June 3, 2019 for the amount equivalent to R$1,488,033 thousand (US$382,106 thousand). BRF has undertaken, in the share purchase agreement entered into with Tyson International Holding Co., not to trade in poultry products for human consumption in certain jurisdictions in Europe, including the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom. The non-compete provision is valid until June 3, 2021 and June 3, 2022, depending on the sales channel.

In 2019, we continued developing our chicken portfolio in Russia and other countries in Eurasia to maintain our presence in these markets. We sell our products to local processors and food service operators.

Asia. China, together with Hong Kong, is our largest market in Asia, where we supply a significant volume and diverse portfolio of products, including chicken wings, chicken feet and pork cuts. Also, with a small distribution operation in Shanghai, BRF has been partnering with retailers to sell Sadia frozen chicken cuts to Chinese consumers. In 2019, new factories of BRF were authorized to export products to China, and one of our new product initiatives focused on strengthening the Sadia brand in this market. In Japan, our local level of service, quality standards and product range have made us a preferred supplier of chicken products in the market. In South Korea, BRF was the first Brazilian producer to export pork cuts to this market, which has provided new business opportunities in this country. In 2019, we concluded the sale of our interest in the joint venture Sats BRF Food Pte Ltd., in Singapore, and signed a distribution agreement to continue supplying it with our products. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—A. History and Development of the Company—Other Transactions in 2018 and

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2019.” In 2019, we also sold our facilities in Thailand, along with most of our European assets, to Tyson International Holding Co. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—A. History and Development of the Company—Sale of Assets in Europe and Thailand.”

Middle East. In the Middle East, Turkey and Malaysia we sell to wholesalers, retailers, small stores (traditional trade), food service providers, and processors. In these markets, we primarily sell frozen chicken in three categories: whole, cuts and processed products. We believe we are one of the preferred suppliers of these products in this region due to our quality standards and our long-standing customer relationships. Our biggest brand, Sadia is recognized as the leading food brand in the Middle East and enjoys the highest Top of Mind brand within the frozen meat category, according to a study made by Ipsos Research, a third-party consulting firm. In 2017, we created separate Halal business operations, which was focused 100% in the Halal market. We also announced the completion of the acquisition of Banvit in Turkey, through TBQ Foods GmbH, a joint venture formed with the Qatar Investment Authority in May 2017. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—A. History and Development of the Company—Corporate Reorganization of One Foods.” In 2019, our Halal operations were reincorporated into BRF S.A. as part of our International operating segment, and they are currently operating similarly to how they operated prior to 2017.

Africa. Our strategy in Africa has focused on unlocking a number of in-market opportunities that fall under the attractive and affordable processed category. In 2019, we focused on strengthening our partnerships in the region. We pursue sales in Africa through sales to distributors with the widest possible distribution. The Sadia and Perdix brands are the primary brands that we have focused on distributing in the region. Angola remains our main market for chicken cuts and processed food, such as franks and mortadella. We also expanded the supply of processed food to South Africa through BRF facilities in Turkey. Going forward, we will continue to carefully consider future growth markets. Furthermore, our next phase of developments will emphasize more control over the interactions between the brands and the consumers by gaining additional insight into consumer preferences to strengthen our value proposition and distribution opportunities.

Americas and Other Countries. We sell our products in the Americas through direct sales to key distributors. Additionally, in 2019, we strengthened our commercial relationship with Mexican clients that started in 2017, where we primarily sell frozen chicken cuts. We also sell chicken cuts, including breasts and wings, to processing companies in Canada. Additionally, Sadia is an established brand and holds important market shares in Chile and Uruguay, where we maintain local distribution operations, and in Paraguay, where we operate through consolidated local distributors.

Intellectual Property

Our principal intellectual property consists of our domestic and international brands. We sell our products mainly under the “Sadia,” “Qualy” and “Perdigão” brands in the Brazilian market and mainly under the “Perdix,” “Perdigão,” “Sadia,” “Confidence,” “Fazenda,” “Qualy,” “Borella,” “Sahtein,” “Hilal,” “Halal,” “Sulina” and “Deline” brands in our international markets, as described below under “—Marketing.”

We also own several brands for specific products or product lines. In the Brazilian market, these brands include, but are not limited to, “Sadia Bio,” “Sadia Salamitos,” “Sadia Hot Pocket,” “Perdigão Ouro,” “Chester Perdigão,” “Perdigão NaBrasa” and “Claybom.” Among our trademarks are: “Halal & Design” (registered in various Middle Eastern countries), “Unef” (registered in various Middle Eastern countries), “Sulina” (registered in various Asian and Caucasian countries), “Fazenda” (registered in various European countries) and “Alnoor” (registered in several Middle Eastern countries). The “Sadia” trademark is registered in various forms in more than 90 countries. In the Middle East, “Sadia” is registered in various forms in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman, as well as in countries in the Caucasus, in Asia and in Latin America. The Sadia mascot is protected both as a registered trademark and copyright pursuant to a registration with the Brazilian National Library, and such protection extends to countries other than Brazil.

In addition, we have patents registered in Brazil and more than 10 other countries. BRF has applied to have the Sadia, Perdigão and Qualy trademarks recognized as “well known trademarks” by the Brazilian National Institute for Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial – INPI), which granted us that

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recognition for Sadia and Perdigão in June 2011 and for Qualy in August 2019. BRF has also applied for its corporate trademark “BRF” (and accompanying design) to be registered in over 125 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Lastly, we own several internet domain names, registered with the competent authorities, such as “perdigao.com.br,” “claybom.com.br,” “qualy.com.br,” “sadia.com.br,” “brf.com,” “brf-foodservices.com.br” and “brf-global.com.”

Marketing

BRF maintains an active marketing program using several channels, including television and video, digital, print and brand experiences. Our marketing efforts are based on (i) adding value to existing categories and diversifying our product lines; (ii) increasing convenience with respect to our in natura meat and processed products; (iii) ensuring that our brands are recognized and associated with high quality products; and (iv) strengthening our reputation for quality by emphasizing high quality service to our customers. Furthermore, we intend to consolidate our brands, while continuing to tailor our appeal to specific export markets and domestic market segments.

In the Brazilian market, we sell our products primarily under the Sadia, Perdigão and Qualy brands. Apart from these major brands, we also sell our products under various Sadia brands, including: Soltíssimo, Nuggets, Frango Fácil and Speciale. Additionally, we sell products under various Perdigão brands, including: Chester, Ouro, Na Brasa and Meu Menu.

Sadia is our premium brand and it holds a leading position in the Brazilian market. Perdigão is also a leading brand in the Brazilian food market, including in the processed food segment. Chester is a Perdigão brand well-known for its Christmas products.

We sell margarine under the Qualy, Deline and Claybom brands. We maintain our leading market position with the Qualy brand by bringing innovation to the Brazilian market. For example, in 2014 we introduced the first aerated margarine in Brazil and in 2016 we improved the Qualy portfolio by adding a proprietary mix of vitamins and minerals to our products, which is called the Q-Mix. Additionally, in 2017 we introduced the first margarine with whole grains, Qualy Multigrãos. This technology to add grains inside the margarine is protected under a patent in partnership with our equipment supplier. In 2018, we launched Qualy Light Zero Lactose, the first zero lactose margarine in the Brazilian market. In 2019, we launched Qualy Vita, a margarine enriched with Omega 6 and vitamins A, D and E and focused on heart health. Through our technical knowledge combined with a deep understanding of consumers’ preferences, we will seek to maintain our leading market positions.

In 2019, we introduced a new positioning concept for our Sadia brand based on consumer perception of quality, superiority and transparency. Sadia is also the preferred brand in the animal protein market in Brazil based on Kantar Insights – Brand Equity Tracking 2019. Sadia and Perdigão, together, hold 41.8% of the animal protein market in Brazil, and Qualy, more than 50% of the margarine market in Brazil, also according to Kantar Insights – Brand Equity Tracking 2019.

Miss Daisy is BRF’s frozen dessert product line. We have produced and sold Miss Daisy deserts since 1999. We believe the Miss Daisy brand has a leading market position and has been highly resilient to market changes. We offer a wide variety of products under the Miss Daisy brand, including mousse pie, Dutch pie and frozen mousse. In addition, Miss Daisy develops specific products for Christmas kits which have been popular in the Brazilian market.

In our Halal markets, our main brands are Sadia and Banvit, which have been leading brands in terms of market share and consumer preference. We also use secondary brands such as Perdix, Hilal and Korpe, as well as other brands such as Confidence, UNEF and Gozde in different countries and distribution channels. The opening of the Abu Dhabi plant in the Middle East and its current expansion are important milestones in the expansion of our Halal business. Local production of processed food greatly increases our ability to adapt our products to local

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preferences and has assisted with the expansion of our product portfolio in the Middle East, as we seek to provide the best food products to our customers.

In addition, our acquisition of Banvit in 2017, the largest producer of poultry in Turkey, has provided us with growth opportunities in processed products beyond the Turkish markets, where we plan to consolidate our leadership in the Halal animal protein market through a larger portfolio of brands.

Regulation

The MAPA, which is the principal governmental authority overseeing our business, is responsible for the regulation and inspection activities related to animal health, technical (including labeling) and quality criteria related to the making of animal food products in all industrial units in Brazil. MAPA also oversees our activities through the Department of Agriculture Defense (Secretaria de Defesa Agropecuária) and the Department of Inspection of Animal Products (Departamento de Inspeção de Produtos Animais).

The inspection activity is performed by placing teams from the SIF/MAPA in the facilities. Their scope of work includes all stages of the production process (including receipt of raw materials, production, labeling and storage) and they can identify noncompliance with applicable rules, with penalties ranging from a warning to permanent suspension of business activities.

We are also subject to the oversight of a number of other international and Brazilian governmental authorities (at federal, state and municipal levels), which include, in Brazil, among others, multiple environmental agencies and the National Agency for Sanitary Surveillance (Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária, or “ANVISA”), which is responsible for supervising, among other matters, the food safety of products sold across Brazil.

C.                  Organizational Structure

We are an operating company incorporated under Brazilian law, and we conduct business through our operating subsidiaries. The following table sets forth our significant subsidiaries.

Entities

 

Country

Main Activity

 

Interest in Equity as
of December 31, 2019

             

BRF GmbH

 

Austria

Holding

 

100.00%

BRF Global GmbH

 

Austria

Holding and Trading

 

100.00%

BRF Austria Gmbh

 

Austria

Holding

 

100.00%

One Foods Holdings Ltd.

 

UAE

Holding

 

100.00%

Badi Ltd.

 

UAE

Holding

 

100.00%

Al-Wafi Al-Takamol International for Foods Products

 

Saudi Arabia

Import and commercialization of products

 

75.00%

BRF Al Yasra Food K.S.C.C. ("BRF AFC")

 

Kuwait

Import, commercialization and distribution of products

 

49.00%

BRF Foods GmbH

 

Austria

Industrialization, import and commercialization of products

 

100.00%

Al Khan Foodstuff LLC ("AKF")

 

Oman

Import, commercialization and distribution of products

 

70.00%

TBQ Foods GmbH

 

Austria

Holding

 

60.00%

Banvit Bandirma Vitaminli

 

Turkey

Import, industrialization and commercialization of products

 

91.71%

Federal Foods LLC

 

UAE

Import, commercialization and distribution of products

 

49.00%

Federal Foods Qatar

 

Qatar

Import, commercialization and distribution of products

 

49.00%

 

The chart below shows our simplified corporate structure.

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For a complete list of all of our direct and indirect subsidiaries, see Note 1.1 to our consolidated financial statements.

D.                  Property, Plant and Equipment

Production

Our activities are organized into two regions: Brazil and International (consisting of the Middle East, North Africa, Malaysia, Africa, Asia, Europe, Eurasia and the Americas).

In Brazil, we operate 34 meat processing plants, three margarine processing plants, three pasta processing plants, one dessert processing plant and three soybean crushing plants, all of which are located near our raw material suppliers or the main consumer centers. We have an advanced logistics system in our domestic market, with 21 distribution centers, six of which are owned by us and 15 of which are leased from third parties, all of which serve supermarkets, retail stores, wholesale stores, restaurants and other clients.

In our international market, we operate five industrial facilities for meat processing. Additionally, after giving effect to the divestitures made in connection with our financial and operational restructuring plan, we continue to operate 24 distribution centers located in Asia, the Southern Cone and the Middle East as well as commercial offices on four continents.

The table below sets forth our production facilities in Brazil.

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Production Plant

State of Location

Activities

Meat Products:

 

 

Buriti Alegre**

Goiás

Poultry slaughtering

Campos Novos

Santa Catarina

Pork slaughtering and animal feed

Capinzal

Santa Catarina

Poultry slaughtering and industrialized products processing

Carambeí**/****

Paraná

Poultry slaughtering, animal feed and hatchery

Chapecó

Santa Catarina

Poultry slaughtering (including turkey), industrialized products processing, animal feed and hatcheries

Concórdia

Santa Catarina

Pork and poultry slaughtering, industrialized products processing, animal feed and hatcheries

Dois Vizinhos**

Paraná

Poultry slaughtering, animal feed and hatcheries

Dourados

Mato Grosso do Sul

Poultry slaughtering, animal feed and hatchery

Duque de Caxias

Rio de Janeiro

Industrialized products processing

Francisco Beltrão**

Paraná

Poultry slaughtering, animal feed and hatcheries

Garibaldi**

Rio Grande Sul

Poultry slaughtering

Herval D'Oeste

Santa Catarina

Pork slaughtering, industrialized products and hatchery.

Jataí**

Goiás

Poultry slaughtering, animal feed and hatchery

Lajeado

Rio Grande do Sul

Pork, poultry slaughtering and industrialized products

Lucas de Rio Verde

Mato Grosso

Pork and poultry slaughtering, industrialized products processing

Marau

Rio Grande Sul

Pork and poultry slaughtering, industrialized products, animal feed and hatcheries

Mineiros***/****

Goiás

Poultry and special poultry (Chester®) slaughtering and processing

Nova Marilândia*

Mato Grosso

Poultry slaughtering

Nova Mutum**

Mato Grosso

Poultry slaughtering, animal feed and hatchery

Paranaguá

Paraná

Industrialized products processing

Ponta Grossa

Paraná

Industrialized products processing

Rio Verde****

Goiás

Pork and poultry slaughtering, industrialized products processing

Serafina Corrêa

Rio Grande Sul

Poultry slaughtering

Tatuí

São Paulo

Industrialized products processing

Toledo

Paraná

Pork and poultry slaughtering, industrialized products processing, animal feed and hatcheries

Uberlândia**

Minas Gerais

Poultry and pork slaughtering, industrialized products processing and  hatcheries

Videira

Santa Catarina

Poultry slaughtering, industrialized products, animal feed and hatcheries.

Vitória de Santo Antão

Pernambuco

Industrialized products processing

 

 

 

Soybean and Margarine Products:

 

 

Paranaguá

Paraná

Margarine processing

Uberlândia

Minas Gerais

Margarine processing

Vitoria de Santo Antão

Pernambuco

Margarine processing

Dois Vizinhos**

Paraná

Soybean crushing

Videira

Santa Catarina

Soybean crushing

Toledo

Paraná

Soybean crushing

*      Production facilities owned and operated by third-party producers who produce according to our specifications.

**    Operates in accordance with the Halal requirements.

***  The activities of the Mineiros plant were suspended by the MAPA on March 17, 2017 in connection with the Carne Fraca Operation. The plant resumed operations on April 11, 2017. For more details, see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings—Carne Fraca Operation.”

**** Exports of the Rio Verde, Carambeí and Mineiros plants were suspended by the MAPA on March 5, 2018 in connection with Trapaça Operation. For more details, see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal

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Proceedings— Trapaça Operation.”

 

Part of our real estate assets are subject to liens incurred in connection with financing agreements, payment of taxes and lawsuits, as described in Note 17 to our consolidated financial statements.

Distribution Centers

We operate 21 distribution centers throughout Brazil, as set forth in the table below.

Location

State

Owned or Leased

Aparecida de Goiânia

Goiás

Leased

Belém

Pará

Leased

Cuiabá