《Can JBS remain the world’s biggest food producer?》，描述來自巴西、全球第一大食品製造商JBS，如何在亂世之下，保持世界第一局面?
Lots of cattle, less hat/The Economist
The Brazilian giant now sells more grub than Nestlé
- 【grub】幼蟲、也指food(informal)。I'm starving - let's get some grub.
Just over five years ago JBS and its then chief executive, Joesley Batista, embodied everything that was wrong with Brazilian business. Mr Batista, son of the meat giant’s eponymous founder, José Batista Sobrinho, was fleeing Brazilian prosecutors, his Italian-made yacht Why Not? in tow, over his role in a gargantuan bribery scandal. (He was eventually caught.) JBS was fending off accusations of selling dodgy meat and razing the Amazon to raise cattle (both of which it denies). Investors and customers stampeded out.
五年多以前，JBS與當時的CEO喬斯利·巴蒂斯塔（Joesley Batista）展現了巴西商業的所有問題。Batista先生，為肉品巨頭的創始人José Batista Sobrinho的兒子，正在逃離巴西檢察官，他的意大利製造的遊艇Why Not？緊跟在後，一個巨大的賄賂醜聞(最終還是被抓了)。JBS正在抵抗出售不合格肉和夷平亞馬遜雨林來養牛的指控(兩者均被否認)，投資者和客戶紛紛撤離。
- 【embody】展現。The poet embodied her ideas in words.
- 【in tow】帶著；有…緊跟在後。Some couples arrived with children in tow.
- 【be fend off ..with】以...抵抗。He was fending off his attackers with a stick.
- 【raze】夷爲平地。The town was razed to the ground in the bombing raid.
- 【stamp sth out】消除，消滅。The new legislation is intended to stamp out child prostitution.
“It took a lot of work to make sure what happened in the past didn’t happen again,” says Gilberto Tomazoni, who became the first non-Batista ceo in 2018. His efforts to rebuild JBS’s image—and investors’ trust—are paying off. On his watch its market value has nearly doubled, to $14bn. Last year it sold $67bn-worth of packaged food, more than any rival (see chart). On August 11th it reported revenues of 92bn reais ($19bn) in the second quarter, up by 7.7% year on year.
“要確保過去發生的事情不再發生，需要很多努力”，2018 年首位非-batista的CEO的吉爾伯托·托馬佐尼 (Gilberto Tomazoni) 說。他努力重建JBS形象和投資者信任，正得到了回報。在他的領導下，其市值幾乎翻了一倍，達 140 億美元。去年，它售出了價值 670 億美元的包裝食品，超過任何對手(見圖)。8月11日，該公司公佈第二季營收為 920億雷亞爾(約190億美元)，同期成長7.7%。
- 【pay off】得到好結果。All her hard work paid off in the end, and she finally passed the exam.
Under Mr Tomazoni, JBS has “simplified and consolidated its ownership structure, making it more transparent to outsider investors,” explains Paulo Terra of fgv, a business school in São Paulo. It has drilled its 250,000 employees in compliance. It has also restructured its debt, selling off billions in assets to pay off creditors. That allowed it to go shopping. In 2021 JBS bought an American smoked-meat processor, an Australian hog breeder and an Italian sausage-maker. It is angling for a share of the seafood business, swallowing sellers of plant-based protein and gobbling up startups developing lab-grown meat.
聖保羅商學院的Paulo解釋，"在Tomazoni的領導下，JBS 簡化並鞏固所有權結構，使其對外部投資者更透明”。它已對25萬名員工進行培訓，並重組債務，出售數十億資產以償還債權人。這讓它可以去消費。2021 年， JBS收購了一家美國熏肉加工商、一家澳洲養豬廠和一家意大利香腸製造商。它正在爭奪海鮮的市占率，併吞植物蛋白業者及實驗室肉的新創公司。
- 【drill】(尤指軍事)訓練。In some of these schools, army-style drills are used to instil a sense of discipline.
- 【restructure debt/Debt restructuring】重組債務
- 【sell off】拋售、低價出售。To sell off things left in stock is to get rid of them, usually by selling them at very low prices.
- 【pay sb off】資遣、收買。There were rumours that key witnesses had been paid off to keep quiet.
- 【gobble sth up】狼吞虎嚥、很快地用掉(通常指錢)。The mounting legal costs quickly gobbled up their savings.
Geographical diversification has made the company more resilient. It controls a quarter of beef processing in America, and last year benefited from a combination of low live-cattle prices and a hunger for beef. Now that inflation has made pricey meat less appetising to Americans, dragging JBS’s beef sales there down by 4.6% year on year, it can lean more on growth in Australia and Brazil. At home in particular, a wider product range, which includes cheaper pork, poultry and fish, has helped it at a time when less diversified competitors struggle with rising prices of feed.
【less appetising to】對...降低胃口
The whiff of scandal will continue to scare off some investors. Wesley, nephew of Joesley, was recently made the global president of operations. Joesley and his brother, both of whom spent time behind bars on charges of corruption, remain a powerful force. The family’s holding company, j&f, retains a 42% stake. Some of their past deals remain under scrutiny.
醜聞的氣息將持續嚇跑一些投資者。Joesley的侄子Wesley，最近被任命為全球營運總裁。而Joesley和他的兄弟都因貪汙而入獄，但仍保有權力，持有該家族控股公司j & f 的42% 股份，過去的一些交易仍在審查中。
- 【a whiff of sth】一點點，些許。They regularly hold elections without a whiff of corruption or violence.
- 【scare sb away/off】嚇跑。If you charge as much as that, you'll scare customers off.
In America, accusations of price-fixing and worries about workers’ welfare have made meatpackers the focus of congressional probes. Criticism of its links to deforestation in the Amazon has pressed JBS to declare sustainability its “core business strategy” and to pledge to emit no net carbon by 2040. Humankind is “eating the planet”, admits Mr Tomazoni, so it needs to produce food in a new way.
- 【price-fixing】 價格操作。We hear a lot about price-fixing being likely to raise the price of coal to the consumer.
- 【probes into】調查。An FBI probe into corruption.
- 【deforestation】大面積砍伐森林。Deforestation is destroying large areas of tropical rain forest.
- 【give/make pledge to】做出承諾。All the candidates have given/made pledges not to raise taxes if they are elected.
JBS may find it increasingly hard to sustain rapid growth. Even as sales rose, net profit declined last quarter, by 10% year on year, as drought shrank grazing lands and the cost of animal feed spiralled. Weakening demand in America will continue to squeeze profit margins in beef and pork. So will a slowdown in China, a smaller but faster-growing beef market where the middle class is eating more beef. JBS’s share price is down by 17% since its recent peak in April. Having whetted investors’ appetites, Mr Tomazoni will need to keep working hard in order to keep them sated.
JBS可能發現越來越難維持快速成長，儘管銷售額增加，但上季淨利下降 10%，主要是因為乾旱、動物飼料成本快速上升。美國需求疲軟將持續擠壓牛、豬肉的利潤，中國放緩也將如此，中國是一個規模較小但成長快速的牛肉市場，中產階級正在吃更多牛肉。JBS股價自 4 月份高峰來，下跌了 17%，在激起投資者的胃口之後，Tomazoni將需要繼續努力，才能讓他們感到滿意。
- 【drought】旱災。This year a severe drought has ruined the crops.
- 【spiral】急遽成長。Spiralling costs have squeezed profits.
- 【whet sb's appetite】勾起(某人)的興趣；增加(某人)的慾望。I've read an excerpt of the book on the Web and it's whetted my appetite.
- 【sated】饜足的。sated with drink/food.