Belfast Telegraph

New owner of Moy Park vows jobs in Northern Ireland will not be cut

By John Mulgrew

Moy Park's new owner has said it has "no intentions" to begin making cuts to its newly acquired Northern Ireland business.

The poultry giant was sold to Brazilian food group JBS S.A last week in a deal worth almost £1bn.

Now JBS director Jerry O'Callaghan - who is originally from the Republic - has said the company has "no intention to start cutting business at all".

"We are thinking of spending rather than cutting," the Cork man said.

"You don't change something that is working well. We'll just add on some ideas, bring in some scale, reduce some costs."

And speaking to the Irish Times, Mr O'Callaghan criticised what he believes is an Irish Farmers Union campaign to undermine the quality of his adopted country's farmers.

"As a company we are present from the US to Australia so we have a pretty global view of things and I think Brazil has been dealt a really bad hand of cards in terms of how it has been perceived globally," he said.

But he also praised the management team of Moy Park - particularly chief executive Janet McCollum.

"CEO Janet McCollum is with the company more than 20 years and she has a very good reputation within the company and in the market," he said.

"We like the product portfolio a lot.

"It is a very creative company in terms of what they produce."

There are concerns the Brazilian firm's takeover of Moy Park could lead to an influx of cheaper meat coming into Northern Ireland.

Ian Marshall, president of the Ulster Farmers Union, said: "We always have the threat of the import of beef.

"For the farming industry, what is very painful is the exchange rate - because we share a land border with the eurozone.

"We only have about 1.8m people in Northern Ireland, and we are dependent on exports.

"That leaves us less competitive, and that's the elephant in the room."

Belfast Telegraph