Brazil's BRF CEO expects China to return to normality


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SAO PAULO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Brazilian food processor BRF SA BRFS3.SA is optimistic about China's reopening after Chinese New Year celebrations signaled a return to normality in the giant Asian food importer, CEO Miguel Gularte told a business conference on Tuesday.

Gularte said China's consumer behavior returned to pre-pandemic patterns, referring to traveling and dining out during the long Chinese holiday.

BRF made investments during the COVID-19 pandemic and is prepared for increasing food demand, according to the executive.

Gularte, who took the helm of the company in August, said the positive outlook is a boon and comes when BRF is in the middle of a turnaround.

He said management is working "to flexibilize" operations, meaning BRF will more quickly capture food sales opportunities, be it domestically or abroad.

That, along with internal operations improvements, will help managers turn BRF around quicker than the market and the people supposed, Gularte said.

The Middle East will continue to be a priority market for BRF, where it is a leading supplier of halal food that is made according to Muslim dietary requirements, Gularte said.

The company, which processes pork and poultry, derives most of its revenue in the domestic market, where it owns well-known brands Sadia, Perdigao and Qualy.

(Reporting by Ana Mano Editing by Chris Reese and Josie Kao)

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