Thursday 22 February 2018

Moy Park up for sale again as Brazil's JBS bids to cut debt

Moy Park chief executive Janet McCollum. Photo: Bloomberg
Moy Park chief executive Janet McCollum. Photo: Bloomberg

John Mulgrew

Irish poultry giant Moy Park is back on the market just two years after it was bought by its current Brazilian owner.

Northern Ireland headquartered Moy Park was bought in 2015 for $1.5bn (€1.3bn).

Based in Craigavon, the business employs 6,300 people in Northern Ireland and a total of 12,000, including at operations in the Republic and elsewhere in Europe.

The business is reckoned to be the biggest private-sector employer in the North and a huge buyer of poultry on both sides of the Border.

Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS said yesterday that it planned to raise around 6bn reals (€1.6bn) with a divestment plan to help cut debt.

JBS - whose controlling shareholder recently agreed to pay the world's largest 'leniency fine' to settle its role in a Brazilian corruption scandal - said the plan presented to its board includes stakes in dairy company Vigor Alimentos, Moy Park and US-focused Five Rivers Cattle Feeding.

Moy Park recorded pre-tax profits of £35.7m in 2015.

"Moy Park is a successful and growing food business with a solid financial standing," said Moy Park CEO Janet McCollum.

"I have no doubt that 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," she added.

JBS is selling off different parts of its huge global business, including the shareholding stakes in Moy Park.

Just last month, Ms McCollum received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the 'Belfast Telegraph' Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank.

She was honoured for her positive impact in the business community here as well as playing a major role in representing the agri-food industry nationally and internationally.

The Belfast-born executive, who is married with three children, has overseen major expansion including growth in the convenience food sector, which has helped drive profits.

Irish Independent

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