(Bloomberg) -- Brazil meat giants Marfrig Global Foods SA and Minerva SA said Uruguay’s antitrust regulator vetoed part of a $1.5 billion sale of assets that would boost Minerva’s dominance over South American beef exports.

The meat producers plan to move forward with the transaction for the remainder of the plants, including more than a dozen slaughterhouses in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, both companies said in separate statements. The three plants in Uruguay set to be removed from the deal were priced at 675 million reais ($132 million).

The proposed deal was fiercely opposed by Uruguay’s ranchers as the transaction would give Minerva about 50% of the country’s annual slaughter capacity and increased leverage to negotiate cattle prices. It’s yet to be approved by regulators in Brazil, where most of the remaining plants under negotiation are based. 

Minerva is seeking to expand its dominance over South American beef exports at a time when scarce cattle supplies in the US have led to increased demand for beef from other regions. 

The transaction, which was made public in August, has received contrasting reactions from Marfrig and Minerva investors. Marfrig shares have surged since then, with the company being rewarded by its renewed focus on more profitable processed food. Meanwhile, Minerva shares have slumped amid concerns that the company was overpaying for the slaughterhouses. 

Minerva counts Saudi Arabia’s state-owned fund Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co. as its biggest shareholder.

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