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Ergo: Moy Park in a flap over slow start to Brexit negotiations


Moy Park chief executive Janet McCollum

Moy Park chief executive Janet McCollum

Moy Park chief executive Janet McCollum

It has been a busy few months for Moy Park, one of Europe's biggest chicken processors.

After going through a sales process run by Brazilian owner JBS, the Northern Ireland-based company was sold earlier this month to Pilgrim's Pride in the United States. It's a small world in the meat and poultry trade - Pilgrim's Pride is 80pc owned by JBS.

It won't quite be business as usual for the company headquartered in Craigavon - Pilgrim's Pride aims to take $50m (€42m) in costs out of the business, in addition to the $30m (€25m) taken out by JBS in the past two years. While cost-cutting can be a painful process, it is the Brexit negotiations that are really making Moy Park bosses wince.

Last week, the company added its name to a letter signed by more than 100 major businesses for urgent progress in the next round of Brexit talks.

According to industry site just-food.com, signatories addressed the letter to the UK Brexit secretary David Davis and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

"Our businesses need to make decisions now about investment and employment that will affect economic growth and jobs in the future," it read. "Continuing uncertainty will adversely affect communities, employees, firms and our nations in the future.


Mario Draghi meeting Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Mario Draghi meeting Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Mario Draghi meeting Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings. Photo: Justin Farrelly

"Businesses across the EU and UK are clear: being able to plan for a transition of up to three years that avoids a cliff edge is critical for our collective prosperity.

"We are therefore writing to urge both sides to be pragmatic and determined to move to the next stage of the negotiations.

"Until transitional arrangements can be agreed and trade discussed, the risk of 'no deal' remains real and has to be planned for, with inevitable consequences for jobs and growth on both sides."

For Moy Park, which has operations on both sides of the Irish border, those talks are more important than most. Little wonder it is in a flap.

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