US poultry firm takes over Moy Park business in £1 billion buy out

Moy Park, Anwick. EMN-171209-160226001
Moy Park, Anwick. EMN-171209-160226001

A major Sleaford area employer has been bought out in a £1 billion take over deal billed to create a ‘leading global poultry and prepared foods company’

US-based poultry firm Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation has announced that it has acquired poultry and processed foods supplier Moy Park with operations in the UK and Europe, including a processing plant in Anwick and poultry rearing farms in the surrounding area.

It has been bought from Brazilian firm JBS in a transaction valued at approximately £1 billion giving the new owners a lucrative stake in the European food market and broadening its geographical base.

“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,” said Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s Chief Executive Officer.

“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.

“We will have new business opportunities through the addition of Moy Park’s fully integrated poultry production platform and its strong presence in prepared foods. Moy Park strengthens Pilgrim’s’ leading portfolio of brands and brings strong value-added innovation capabilities, access to new markets, a best-in-class production platform and strong farmer partner relationships. In addition, Moy Park shares Pilgrim’s long-standing commitment to become the best and most respected company in our industry.”

Mr Lovette continued: “We welcome the talented Moy Park team members and management team, led by Janet McCollum, to Pilgrim’s, and we look forward to working closely with them and their family farm partners to drive growth and deliver value for our shareholders.”

Pilgrim’s expects to achieve approximately $50 million in cost savings over the next two years from shared sourcing, purchasing, logistics and production, boosting its share values.

Pilgrim’s says it is committed to a local business model and Moy Park will remain headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, with its management team continuing to lead the business. Pilgrim’s says the rest of the Moy Park employee base will remain in place. Moy Park will operate as a business unit within Pilgrim’s and will maintain its day-to-day operations and strategic focus.

Janet McCollum, Chief Executive of Moy Park, said: “This 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. 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 said: “Both Moy Park and Pilgrim’s have a long heritage in agriculture and poultry production going back over 70 years and we share the same values. We look forward to this new and exciting phase of Moy Park’s development as we continue to meet and exceed the needs of our customers and consumers, providing fresh, locally-sourced poultry and top quality, innovative products.”

JBS, the world’s biggest meat packing firm, had been seeking to sell off some of its assets to reduce debt in other areas. Since its founding in Northern Ireland in 1943, Moy Park is now a top 10 UK food company and one of Europe’s leading poultry producers, with more than 800 farmers across the UK. Moy Park processes more than 5.7 million birds per week and has 13 processing plants located in the UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands supplying major food retailers and restaurant chains in the UK and Continental Europe.

Pilgrim’s believes the acquisition will allow the company to maintain its strong credit profile while providing ample free cash flow for further strategic acquisitions.

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