Cargill in Colombia with Pollos El Bucanero takeover

President of Cargill Protein Latin America, Xavier Vargas, said he was 'thrilled' by the deal

International agri-food giant Cargill has entered the Colombian market through the acquisition of poultry firm Pollos El Bucanero SA, for an undisclosed sum.

The takeover of Pollos El Bucanero – or Bucanero Chicken in English – adds 5,000 staff to the roughly 150,000 people employed around the world by Cargill.

Pollos Bucanero manufactures a broad range of chicken products, including fresh, frozen and value-added items, that it sells to retailers and foodservice firms across the country. The meat processor is supplied by some 170 contract farmers.

Cargill’s director of agriculture in South America, Jorge Ivan Duque, has been named general manager of Pollos Bucanero. He has been with Cargill for three years and has spent a further nine working in the South America’s poultry industry, primarily in Colombia.

‘New stage’ for animal protein

Pollos Bucanero will operate as a subsidiary of Cargill Protein Latin America, which includes meat-processing companies in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Cargill’s Duque will bring his experience of the Colombian poultry to the new venture and praised the potential impact of the takeover in a press statement

Pollos El Bucanero is one of the largest chicken processors in Colombia

Cargill is starting a new stage in Colombia, under the Bucanero brand, which is recognised and preferred by millions of customers across the country,” Duque said.

Just like Cargill, this is a family business. We are confident that this will be a smooth integration and will lead to numerous benefits for our employees, customers and communities.

‘Enriching’ meat options

Pollos Bucanero’s 5,000 workers bring the total number of Cargill staff in Latin America, spread across 200 sites in 14 countries, to 35,000.

One of the key figures in this burgeoning division is president of Cargill Protein Latin America, Xavier Vargas. Commenting on the takeover, he said: “We are thrilled to expand our operations in Latin America by bringing our protein business to Colombia.

As we enter this market, we bring the experience gained from working in protein across four continents for more than 50 years. This global presence, and our extensive work in other regions of Latin America, provides us a wealth of expertise in quality standards and an understanding of cultural taste differences. We look forward to delivering on the preferences of Colombian consumers and enriching their protein options.

Dr Jorge Ivan Duque was born in 1973 and joined Cargill in 2014

As a global business, Cargill is pushing forward a strategy to buy news businesses and divest old ones that no longer fall within the company’s overarching strategy to be more customer-focused. Huge investment has gone in to tighten its bottom line, to improve production efficiencies and reduce costs.
In 2017 alone, the business has opened an $111m cooked meat factory in Nebraska, doubling job numbers from 240 to 460. It has also sold its last cattle feedlots to Green Plains for $36.7m. Outside meat, the business has also expanded in the petroleum and renewable chemistry sectors.

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