Northern Ireland chicken processor in potential £1 billion listing

Moy Park recently announced a £170 million expansion

Moy Park, the poultry processor and the largest private-sector employer in Northern Ireland, is being lined up for a £1 billion flotation by its Brazilian parent company.

The company, which has four plants across the North and recently announced a £170 million expansion, is said to be considering appointing Goldman Sachs or Shore Capital to advise it, according to weekend reports in Britain.

Moy Park is owned by Marfrig, a Brazilian listed company that was one of the sponsors of the World Cup – the Irish company's brand was visible on stadium branding at several matches involving European teams.

A note on Marfrig’s interim results last week confirmed it is considering a spin-off of Moy Park: “We continue to exploit alternatives to accelerate growth at both Moy Park and Keystone [Foods, its American subsidiary]. Moy Park successfully tapped the sterling bond market in May, opening up our story to a host of new and important UK investors. We believe Moy Park could be well positioned for [flotation] if we decide to pursue that path.”

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Marfrig has debts of about €2.4 billion, and is considering the sale of several overseas units to reduce its leverage. Reports suggested it may offload 30 per cent of the Moy Park business.

Moy Park employs close to 5,000 people in Northern Ireland and is supplied by another 500 farms across the North. It recently announced an expansion that will create 630 jobs.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column