JBS may begin a new round of mergers and acquisitions, its CFO Guilherme Cavalcanti has revealed.

The firm has refinanced about $5bn of debt due to mature in 2021 and 2022 back to 2026, aimed at reducing JBS’ cost of capital and risk perception in the eyes of investors.

That lower risk should translate into a lower cost of debt and capital, according to BTG Pactual, a Brazilian bank that met with JBS’ Mr Cavalcanti.

He said with the balance sheet in a better position, a round of merger and acquisition activity may commence “soon”.

A focus would be on non-integrated food processors that may suffer from increased protein prices in 2020, he added.

On African Swine Fever, Mr Cabalcanti said he felt JBS was the “bestpositioned player” to take advantage of the crisis in China, according to the report.

Two “upside risks” to that were China reducing its import tariff on US pork from its current level of 62% or opening the market to US chicken once again, though it was suggested that would be at a slow rate.

As a result of the meeting, BTG Pactual said JBS remained a “top pick” for investors in the protein sector.