Belfast Telegraph

Moy Park owner 'committed' to Northern Ireland following £1bn takeover

Chicken firm sold off by JBS to US business Pilgrim's

By John Mulgrew

Moy Park's new owner has said it is "committed" to retaining the chicken giant's Northern Ireland headquarters and workforce after taking the firm over in a £1bn deal.

The Craigavon-based business, which employs more than 6,000 staff here, was bought by US-based Pilgrim's Pride Corporation from Brazilian owner JBS for $1.3bn (£1bn). JBS is a majority stakeholder in new owners Pilgrim's.

Janet McCollum, chief executive of Moy Park, said the "announcement is a positive development for Moy Park and all our colleagues employed across the business".

"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."

The UK's biggest poultry producer had been owned by Brazilian giant JBS since 2015. It was formerly part of Marfrig.

Pilgrim's said it "believes in the importance of its local business model and is committed to its team members across its global operations".

"Moy Park will remain headquartered in Craigavon," it said.

"The Moy Park management team, led by Janet McCollum, will continue to lead the business, and the rest of the Moy Park employee base will remain in place."

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said Moy Park's success is "important for communities, not only where it's processing, management and distribution facilities are based, but throughout the whole of NI".

“We hope this investment will see the business benefit from expertise and insight from its new parent company, not only in production but in market development,” Mr Kelly said.

“A badly delivered Brexit could have a big impact on Moy Park’s supply chain, market access and particularly labour availability, so we hope this new relationship with Pilgrim’s will help the local management team navigate these challenges and see the business continue to flourish.”

Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s chief executive, said 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 reported 7.4% year-on-year sales growth to £392m, for the second quarter of this year.

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said the deal is a “strong vote of confidence in the strength of the local market” with “Brexit coming around the corner”.

Earlier this year, chief executive Janet McCollum received a lifetime achievement award at the 2017 Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank.

Moy Park also topped the Ulster Business Top 100 Companies list with A&L Goodbody, this year.

Belfast Telegraph

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