Bidders line up for Moy Park business
£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.