NI Chicken Processor Sold to US Food Giant for Over $1b

US & UK - Northern Ireland-based chicken processing company Moy Park has been sold to United States food giant Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation in a deal worth $1.3billion (£1billion). Chris McCullough reports.
calendar icon 12 September 2017
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Moy Park’s original Brazilian owners JBS had put the company up for sale earlier this year in a bid to pay off some of its debts.

The new US owners say the acquisition will allow them to trade into the lucrative UK markets and further into Europe.

Already Pilgrim’s Pride operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 14 states in America, Puerto Rico and Mexico, employing around 42,000 people.

Janet McCollum, Moy Park’s chief executive, said: “Pilgrim’s is one of the leading chicken producers in the world with a proven track record and we see great opportunities for Moy Park as part of this successful business.

"Joining Pilgrim’s gives us the opportunity to accelerate our growth plans, share best practices and leverage Pilgrim’s expertise and operational excellence."

"Moy Park will provide Pilgrim’s with a platform for growth in Europe as well as access to innovation and increased exposure to prepared foods," she added.

With its new owners in place Moy Park’s headquarters will remain in Craigavon, County Armagh, where Janet McCollum and her team will continue to run the business.

Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s chief executive, said: "We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Moy Park, which will position Pilgrim's to become a global player, with an improved and more stable margin profile on the chicken business and an expanded portfolio of prepared foods.

"Following our successful acquisitions of GNP and the assets in Mexico, Moy Park represents a logical next step in the evolution of our geographical and brands footprint.

"The acquisition gives us access to the attractive UK and European markets, which advances our strategy of diversifying our portfolio to be more global while reducing volatility across our businesses."

Moy Park was founded in Northern Ireland in 1943 and currently employs around 6,300 people. It also reported pre-tax profits of £11.5m for the second quarter of the year, down 0.8 percent from £11.6m over the same quarter last year.

However, sales were up from £365m to £392m over the same period, as the firm benefited from volume growth and a favourable exchange rate environment.

The company handles almost six million birds per week in its 13 processing plants located in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and France.

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