UPDATE 1-Brazil meat packer Aurora will increase poultry processing and drives gross sales in China

(new heading; new version with details from the interview)

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, February 10 (Reuters). Brazil’s third largest meat processor, Cooperativa Central Aurora Alimentos, plans to expand chicken processing and maintain the size of pork operations in order to increase sales in markets like China, the managing director said on Wednesday.

CEO Neivor Canton said in an interview with Reuters that Aurora, a privately held company that competes with Brazil-based heavyweights JBS SA and BRF SA, plans to expand its poultry capacity by 20% in two years and earn 500 million reais by 2021 ( US $ 93 million) will invest to achieve this goal.

Aurora processes about 6,000 tons of animal protein every day and exports about a third of that, the executive said.

The company, which posted record sales in 2020 due to strong exports, is investing this year in hopes of strengthening trade ties with China, which relies more on Brazilian meat imports to deal with African swine fever.

To increase export sales, Aurora is currently applying for three new export permits from China, including two for chicken factories in Santa Catarina state and one for a pig plant in Mato Grosso do Sul, Canton said.

($ 1 = 5.40 reais) (Reporting by Ana ManoEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Macfie)

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