Bidders line up for Moy Park busi­ness

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

£1bn take over of poul­try gi­ant will en­sure firm’ s growth and sta­bil­ity, says boss janet mc­col­lum

CHINA’S rich­est chicken farmer has joined a se­ries of bidders vying for a £1bn takeover of North­ern Ire­land poul­try gi­ant Moy Park.

Liu Yong­hao, chair­man of China’s agri­chem­i­cal busi­ness New Hope, started his com­pany in 1982 by in­vest­ing in breed­ing quails and chick­ens to sell on to other farm­ers.

He made a for­tune as the Chi­nese ap­petite for meat soared and the busi­ness has grown to be­come one of the largest non-gov­ern­ment con­glom­er­ates in China, with nearly 70,000 em­ploy­ees across 30 coun­tries.

Brazil­ian-based JBS bought the busi­ness just two years ago for £1.2bn.

Moy Park, which has its head­quar­ters in Craigavon, em­ploys 6,300 staff in North­ern Ire­land alone. It’s thought Moy Park will at­tract the in­ter­est of a large Chi­nese buyer.

The Chi­nese group WH, which con­trols the Amer­i­can com­pany Smith­field Foods, the world’s largest pork pro­ducer, has al­ready been tipped as a suitor for the busi­ness in the Brazil­ian me­dia.

A spokes­woman for Moy Park said: “We do not com­ment on spec­u­la­tion.”

At the time of sale an­nounce­ment back in June of this year, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Moy Park Janet Mc­col­lum said that JBS had “an­nounced a pro­gramme of divest­ment fo­cused on strength­en­ing JBS’S fi­nan­cial po­si­tion through net debt re­duc­tion”.

“The as­sets cur­rently un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for sale in­clude the Moy Park busi­ness,” she added.

“Moy Park is a suc­cess­ful and grow­ing food busi­ness with a solid fi­nan­cial stand­ing.

“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.”

JBS is sell­ing off dif­fer­ent parts of its huge global busi­ness.

Ear­lier this year Ms Mc­col­lum re­ceived the Life­time Achieve­ment Award in the Belfast Tele­graph Busi­ness Awards in part­ner­ship with Ul­ster Bank.

She was hon­oured for mak­ing a hugely pos­i­tive im­pact in the busi­ness com­mu­nity in North­ern Ire­land, as well as play­ing a ma­jor role in rep­re­sent­ing the agri-food in­dus­try na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

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