Astral faces ‘huge losses’ in chicken competition dispute

SOUTH AFRICA - Leading broiler chicken producer Astral and its subsidiary Elite, a producer of breeders for the broiler industry, have applied for an urgent hearing by the Competition Tribunal of a matter brought against them by rival broiler producer Supreme Poultry and its subsidiary Country Bird.
calendar icon 4 July 2007
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The dispute arises from a joint venture between Astral and Supreme, which Country Bird says is anticompetitive. Astral operates the chicken broiler businesses National Chick, Early Bird and County Fair.

The joint venture, Elite, is 82% held by Astral and 12% by Supreme. It is what remains of an operation set up in the 1990s to break a monopoly in the chicken parent breeding market.

Astral CEO Nick Wentzel said yesterday that the shareholding is the basis for a proportional acceptance of Ross (a breed of chicken) birds for breeding purposes produced by Elite under contract.

He said Supreme was simply using the competition application to get out of their contract.

Source: Business Day
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