Manor Farm bought by Swedish group for €70m in cash and shares

Irish chicken processor has been family owned for eight generations

Manor Farm managing director  Vincent Carton: said discussions with Scandi Standard had begun six or seven months ago. Photograph: Barry Cronin

Manor Farm managing director Vincent Carton: said discussions with Scandi Standard had begun six or seven months ago. Photograph: Barry Cronin

 

Manor Farm, Ireland’s largest chicken processor, has been bought by Swedish group Scandi Standard for €70 million in cash and shares.

The deal involves the payment of €34 million in cash and the balance in shares, subject to approval from Scandi’s shareholders. The purchase price includes the settlement of Manor Farm’s debt, which has not been disclosed. The deal is expected to be finalised in August.

Manor Farm employs roughly 850 people in Ireland and is majority owned by Vincent and Justin Carton. Both will continue to lead the business as part of a three-year earn-out agreement.

The brothers own 85 per cent of the company with the balance held equally by three key senior executives. All of the management team will remain with the business.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Vincent Carton said the next generation of the family did not want to be involved in the chicken business in the long term. He and his brother have eight daughters between them.

“They didn’t want to give their life to developing the chicken-processing business,” he said. “They didn’t have the passion for that.”

Quality record

He said discussions with Scandi had begun six or seven months ago and it was a company with an “outstanding health and quality record in chicken processing”.

“They’re also major chicken product innovators. They understand our business and our commitment to our people. We’re the best at what we do, and Scandi Standard is committed to continuing that,” Mr Carton added.

“I’m looking forward to working with the board and with the broader Scandi company.”

Turnover for Carton Brothers, the holding company behind Manor Farm, amounted to €249 million in 2015, up from €238 million the previous year.

Mr Carton said its revenues were 7 per cent ahead in the year to date and the company has budgeted for turnover of €280 million in 2017. Some €173 million of this relates to the processing of chickens with the balance being the sale of feed and other items to farmers.

He said Scandi was committed to investing in the Irish operation and expanding its operation – Manor Farm’s main processing facility is based in Shercock, Co Cavan. The Irish company recently introduced robotics into the factory and Mr Carton said this would be an increasing focus under Scandi.

He added that his family would look at investing the proceeds of their windfall into other businesses. They have already backed a company called Carton Sisters, which involves their daughters and invests in food products.

“I’m also looking forward to a holiday,” he said. “These negotiations have been going on for some time and I’m tired.”