Belfast Telegraph

Moy Park reports £392m in revenue as sale draws closer

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland poultry giant Moy Park has reported 7.4% year-on-year sales growth to £392m as a sale of the Brazilian-owned company draws nearer.

The firm, which employs around 6,300 people in Northern Ireland, also reported pre-tax profits of £11.5m for the second quarter of the year, down 0.8% from £11.6m over the same quarter a year earlier.

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’s chief executive Janet McCollum received a lifetime achievement award at this year’s Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank.

Commenting on the quarterly results of Moy Park Holdings (Europe), Mrs McCollum said the firm had enjoyed “robust growth” despite challenges from rising costs and the uncertainty of Brexit.

She said there had been “volume and revenue growth across all product categories and improving underlying profit before tax by 7% in what remains a challenging market”. 

“In an environment that continues to be impacted by headwinds including cost inflation and uncertainty regarding Brexit, our strategy of unrelenting focus on cost control, strong customer relationships and a culture of constant innovation is delivering robust growth,” she said.

She added rising revenues marked progress on a “solid start to the year”. “We are confident that we have the ability, adaptability and resilience to maintain the current momentum in the business and build on our position as one of Europe’s leading food companies,” she said.

On a like-for-like basis, profit before tax was up 7.1% to £18m.

The company said its like-for-like profits before tax were calculated before taking account of exceptional items, corporate charges, bond interest and foreign exchange movement on inter-company loans.

There was volume growth of 2% on the year before in the UK and Ireland, with growth across Moy Park’s fresh poultry and convenience foods categories.

And there was 2.7% volume growth in continental Europe, with revenues reaching €116.2m (£107m).

The quarterly results also said the firm was continuing to make progress on a strategic investment programme, which included work on a new hatchery in Newark in England.

Earlier this year, its Brazilian owner JBS announced plans to sell Moy Park just two years after buying it from another Brazilian food firm, Marfrig, for £1.2bn. Last month, the Daily Telegraph in London reported that the business is tipped for purchase by Chinese food company White Hope.

It’s led by Liu Yonghao and it also controls the American company Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer.

Mr Yonghao’s business has grown to become one of the largest non-government entities based in China, with nearly 70,000 employees across 30 countries.

As JBS’s plans emerged last month, Mrs McCollum said it was embarking on “a programme of divestment focused on strengthening JBS’s financial position through net debt reduction”.

“The assets currently under consideration for sale include the Moy Park business,” she added.

“Moy Park is a successful and growing food business with a solid financial standing.

“I have no doubt our success is due to the great strengths of this business — our exceptional people, innovation and performance.

“I also know that this will ensure our continued growth and stability well into the future. Our priority remains business as usual — delivering outstanding quality, innovation and service to our customers and consumers.”

Moy Park employs 12,000 people across Northern Ireland, England, the Republic, Holland and France. It supplies branded and own label chicken products to retailers and foodservice industry in the UK, Ireland and Europe.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.