Future uncertain as Greencore sold
Irish growers await intentions of new French bosses
Irish malt growers are waiting anxiously to hear what future is envisioned for them by a farmer-owned co-op in France.
After months of speculation, Greencore has announced that it is to sell its malting business to French co-operative giant Axereal for €112m.
The move will establish Axereal's malting business, Boortmalt Group, as the world's fifth largest malting operation and the third biggest in Europe.
When the sale is completed the group will have a production capacity of more than 1.1m tonnes of malt in 11 European locations and a strong presence in South and Central America, Africa and Asia.
Greencore Malt includes three malting businesses based in Britain (trading as Pauls Malt), Ireland (trading as Minch Malt) and Belgium (trading as Belgomalt), accounting for 520,000t of malt each year.
The sale, announced last Thursday, does not include 50ac of land owned by Greencore Malt, including the Minch Malt site at Athy, Co Kildare.
Based in the grain-producing Centre region of France, Axereal is a major agri co-operative group formed, in July last year, from the merger of the two French co-operative unions, Agralys and Epis-Centre.