Moy Park put up for sale by Brazilian owner JBS

Brazilian meat giant JBS has put Moy Park up for sale but the firm’s chief executive Janet McCollum says it is “business as usual” for the Northern Irish poultry processor. 

Moy Park is committed to innovation and growth, despite being put on the market by its parent company, according to McCollum (pictured).

“Earlier today, JBS 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.

“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.”

No buyer has been named for Moy Park at this stage, but trade union Unite has warned that politicians have a responsibility to ensure the business is not subject to asset-stripping by venture capitalists.

Sean McKeever, Unite regional officer, said the sale “casts a shadow” over Moy Park at a time when it faces “extensive uncertainties as a result of Brexit.”

“We would be very concerned that this announced sale may open the door to venture capitalists. They would have no interest in the workforce but would buy the company for its order book, intent on asset-stripping the business for short-term profit,” said McKeever.

JBS said it would offload Moy Park as part of a wider divestment programme to sell “less strategic assets” and raise R$6bn (£1.4bn) to pay off debt and shrink leverage. US-based Five Rivers Cattle Feeding and a 19.2% stake in Brazilian dairy business Vigor Alimentos will also be sold by JBS.
Moy Park was acquired by JBS in 2015 for $1.5bn. The NI-based firm claims to be one of the UK’s top 10 food companies and employs more than 12,000 people in the UK.

Across its 13 European manufacturing plants, the poultry processor has capacity to slaughter 280 million birds and produces 200,000 tonnes of food per year.

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