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Cautious optimism over Tulip sale hoping to become ‘leading European food company’

The country’s largest pig producer has been purchased by Pilgrim’s Pride. 

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Cautious optimism over Tulip sale hoping to become ‘leading European food company’

There was cautious optimism across the pig industry following news Tulip will be acquired by global meat giant Pilgrim’s, as it looks to establish itself as a ‘leading European food company’.

 

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation announced it had signed a contract to acquire Tulip from Danish Crown in a deal which valued Tulip at £290 million.

 

Although its headquarters are in the US, it is owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS.

 

Pilgrim’s Pride already has a presence in the UK market, owning Northern Ireland-based Moy Park.


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How the UK pig sector’s three major players stack up

Tulip

  • 12 fresh and value added operations in the UK
  • Employs more than 6,000 people
  • The country’s largest pig producer with 30 per cent of market share
  • Breed and rear around 1.5 million pigs a year
  • Previously owned by Danish Crown, a co-operative of Danish pig farmers
  • Brechin, owned by Quality Pork Processors, is a joint venture between Scottish Pig Producers and Scotlean and Tulip, and is Scotland’s only large pig processing unit.

Cranswick

  • Employs more than 10,000 people across 15 UK manufacturing facilities
  • Hull and Norfolk primary processing sites processes average of 45,300 pigs per week
  • Ballymena site processes 10,500 pigs per week

Karro Food Group

  • Two abattoirs processing about 45,000 pigs each week
  • Employs 3,000 people
  • Owned by investment company CapVest, headquartered in London

Global chief executive officer Jayson Penn said it positioned Pilgrim’s as a leading global prepared foods player and was the ‘next logical step’ for the company.

 

Dr Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association (NPA), said it was generally being seen as a positive move, although it was early days.

 

“It was well known Danish Crown were trying to get shot of it,” she said.

 

“I would still be interested in what the strategic importance would be and what is going to happen.”

 

Investment

She added she hoped the company would be reinvesting in its facilities.

 

“I understand they see the UK has a good potential for exporting,” she said. “We have good trade deals with countries like China.”

 

Dr Davies said she could not see the deal having an immediate effect on UK production and she understood there was a deal in place to continue to take Danish product for a specific period of time.

 

“It is wait and see for the longer term. The general consensus in the industry is it is a good investment by a multi-national,” she said.

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