Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Moy Park set to spread its wings

Moy Park CEO, Janet McCollum

Marfrig's embryonic plans to float Moy Park and Keystone were first aired at the end of last March in an interview which chief executive Sergio Rial gave to Bloomberg. Five weeks later, and it seems flotation remains on the menu, below the goujons.

It would be a momentous step for Moy Park and will of course raise money for Marfrig. There hasn't been a flotation in Northern Ireland since Andor Technology floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2005.

But given the size of Moy Park – particularly its £1.2bn turnover – it is likely to float on the London Stock Exchange itself, where it will join our only other LSE company, UTV Media plc.

Commentators have mulled over why we are so lacking in listed companies. John Simpson today points out that the family-run businesses which prevail in our economy do prefer to avoid the extra scrutiny which comes from a listing.

But Moy Park's growth may mean that it can now stand up to the scrutiny and fund growth in the future at the same time. However, one commentator insisted that it shouldn't be viewed as a foreign company squeezing cash out of a Northern Ireland firm.

He argues that the benefits to Moy Park in the long term are of far greater consequence.

The company has recently been spreading its wings (pardon the pun) ever further, with £33.8m profits, as well as its £1bn-plus turnover, and this week earned the honour of being the first number one company in the province to be led by a woman.

Going public could be the chasseur sauce on the chicken.

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