One of the world’s largest poultry producers has issued an urgent warning Brexit could adversely impact its business.
US-based Pilgrim’s Pride owns Northern Ireland-based Moy Park, which employs about 6,000 people.
But it has warned if the UK was unable to secure new trade arrangements on terms as favourable as current arrangements, its business ‘may be adversely affected’.
Moy Park was purchased by Pilgrim’s Pride for £1 billion in September 2017 from Brazilian firm JBS.
It operates 12 sites across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and France, processing about 6m birds per week.
Moy Park operations generated 18.2 per cent of the corporation’s total net sales last year.
At the time of purchasing Moy Park, Pilgrim’s Pride said the acquisition would position the corporation as a global player in the chicken business, giving it access into the ‘attractive UK and European markets’.
And it issued a Brexit warning in its latest annual report filed at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
It said: “Brexit could impair our ability to transact business in the UK and in countries in the EU.
“Brexit could continue to adversely affect European and/or worldwide economic and market conditions and could continue to contribute to instability in the global financial markets.”
A Pilgrim’s Pride spokesman added the long-term effects of Brexit would partly depend on any agreements made to retain market access in the European Union following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in March 2019.
The spokesman said: “In addition, we expect Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the UK determines which EU laws to replicate or replace.
“If the UK was to significantly alter its regulations affecting the food industry, we could face significant new costs.
“It may also be time-consuming and expensive for us to alter our internal operations to comply with new regulations.”