Origin-backed firm buys Moy Park's McLarnons Feeds
Poultry giant Moy Park has confirmed the sale of part of its McLarnon Feeds business to John Thompson and Sons Ltd for an undisclosed sum.
Belfast-based Thompson's is owned under a joint venture agreement by Dublin stock market-listed Origin Enterprises and W&A Barnett Group - which is Ireland's biggest animal feed manufacturer.
Thompson's will take over the ruminant feed part of McLarnons. McLarnons produces meal for beef, sheep and cattle from its base in Randalstown, Co Antrim.
Moy Park said the deal would allow it to focus on chicken feed at its mill in Randalstown.
Thompson's will now own the McLarnon name - a familiar brand in the agricultural sector.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed but is thought to be around £500,000.
Moy Park's director of agriculture, Alan Gibson, said: "Moy Park has undergone significant growth over the past two years and we are now processing over five million fresh chickens per week throughout the UK.
"Now is the right time to optimise our own mill capacity in support of our business and this will also enable a £1.2m investment to be made in 2016."
Declan Billington, chief executive of Thompson's, said: "Given Moy Park's focus on poultry expansion, and our long-term relationship with them, it seemed only natural that we would come together to support the growth prospects of the McLarnon ruminant business."
Thompson's was founded in the 1880s and has grown through investment and acquisition into one of the largest single-site feed mills in Europe.
It was taken over by W&R Barnett in 1963, which is now co-owns it with Origin Enterprises.