Moy Park, Northern Ireland’s largest private company, has revealed an operating profit of £86.2m for 2020, a 15% increase on the previous year, despite a drop in revenue of 8% to £1.4bn. The company’s net assets increased by 23% to £374m with £56m spent on infrastructure projects across the group during the year.

Unsurprisingly COVID-19 had an impact on the business in 2020. The company availed of the UK government’s job retention scheme between March and November 2020 and similar schemes in other countries they operated in.

These schemes were worth 1% of total staff costs which were £280,692,000, meaning the schemes were worth £2.8m.

Moy Park says that this was used to “partially offset the cost of a new employee sick pay scheme introduced by the group providing full pay to employees who were isolating”.

The company also reported that they supported “extremely vulnerable employees who we continued to shield between November 2020 and April 2021 on full pay without using the Job Retention Scheme.”

Kerry meats and meals division

Pilgrim’s Pride has also been in the food business news recently with the acquisition of the Kerry Group’s meats and meals business in Ireland and the UK for €819m. This part of the Kerry Group’s business includes well-known consumer brands such as Denny’s, Coleraine Cheddar and Galtee among others.

It will be interesting to observe now that the deal has been finalised what branding the Kerry meats and meals business will trade under.

Following the purchase by Pilgrim’s Pride of the UK pig processing company Tulip from Danish Crown, Tulip was rebranded as Pilgrim’s Pride. However, given the wide range of consumer brands in the Kerry meats and meals division, there is a case for bringing them into the Moy Park group who not only have businesses across the UK and Ireland, as well as France and the Netherlands, but also have a portfolio of their own consumer brands.

The third option is that the Kerry meats and meals business is big enough to operate with its own separate identity.

About Moy Park

Moy Park is owned by US poultry giant, Pilgrim’s Pride, which in turn is owned by JBS. It is headquartered in Northern Ireland and it has a large presence there through factories in Dungannon, Craigavon and the former O’Kane poultry factory in Ballymena. It also has locations in England, France the Netherlands and Ashbourne, Co Meath. This was because of a consolidation by then owners Marfrig of their European businesses “under the direction and leadership of Moy Park”.

The Moy Park group now employs 10,209 people across its 12 sites and claims to supply 25% of chicken purchases in western Europe and have 35m birds on the ground at any one time.

JBS, the world’s largest meat processor bought the Moy Park group of companies in 2015 and in 2017 transferred ownership to Pilgrim’s Pride, the leading US poultry processor in which JBS is the majority shareholder and is in the process of buying outright.