Cappoquin closure


The managing director of the company which has bought Cappoquin Poultry has been in Ireland this week thrashing out a deal for the sale of the chicken firm’s equipment.

It is understood that David Boyd of Boyd International paid somewhere in the region of €1.5 million for the site, equipment and goodwill but recently listed the entire contents for sale online.

However, issues remain over the plant, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture both reportedly having concerns over the site.

The move by Boyd to sell the machinery and contents of the plant has cast major doubt over the likelihood of the stakeholders receiving any payment. The growers and shareholders have reacted angrily, describing Boyds as “glorified scrap merchants”.

At any time, there were between 30 and 50 farmers growing for Cappoquin. Following the examinership in 2012, growers invested extensive sums of money in order to restart operations. Growers invested as much as €60,000 to €100,000 each last year to see production at the plant restart.

Growers have expressed their anger at the lack of contact with the new owners, especially considering the value of the investments made by farmers.

“If they are honest with themselves, they are glorified scrap merchants,” said one grower. “They’ve come in here, seen an opportunity and stripped the company completely. They’ve left no real hope of us and others in the area being able to return to growing barring some other company offering contracts, but we have heard nothing.”

Close to 20 parties registered their interest in purchasing Cappoquin after the most recent receivership in August. A source close to the sale said most were ‘tyre kickers’, but the list did include a number of established companies. However, all bids were well short of the offer put forward by Boyds.

Since it acquired the company, Boyds published on its website the entire contents and assets of Cappoquin, looking for an ‘immediate sale’ in attempt to recoup money spent on the plant.

It says: “For immediate sale – entire assets of Cappoquin Poultry, Ireland. This is a unique opportunity to purchase a fully operational chicken slaughter, evisceration, chilling, freezing, cut up and further processing factory in Europe.”

Despite repeatedly offering the company the opportunity to provide a statement to the Irish Farmers Journal on their strategy for Cappoquin, Boyd International declined to comment.

At its peak, Cappoquin had the capacity to process in the region of 1m chickens monthly, which represented about 20% of the chicken processing market in Ireland.


There were between 30 and 50 chicken growers supplying to Cappoquin and only a few of those have been contracted to other suppliers since the latest receivership. The Irish Farmers Journal visited a selection of the growers who have been affected by the failures of the plant since 2008.

Eddie and Linda O’Keeffe, Ballynoe, Co Cork – Growers, shareholders and feed transporters

“I suppose we’ve had a few different hits to take as a result of it (Cappoquin) going out of business again,” Eddie O’Keeffe explained.

As recently as this summer, the O’Keeffes were growing chickens for Cappoquin. However, as well as being producers with a one-shed capacity of 20,000 chickens, the husband and wife also operated a haulage division which brought feed to Cappoquin from Henry Good.

Eddie believes a return to production in the west Waterford plant is unlikely in the near future and is waiting to see before agreeing to grow again.

He said: “We put a lot of money into the business the last time around only to see it fall and we don’t want the same again. If someone wanted us to grow, we would have to be very clear on their plans.”

Eddie and Linda said they are ‘fed up’ with what has happened in the past and the approach of the new owners.

“The little man like us has always been taken advantage of,” Eddie said. “I suppose we’re a bit fed up of the way the whole thing has gone. We approached it very honestly and tried to do things right but it’s the failures and bad management of others that has left us in the position we are in.”

Ned Morrissey, Cappoquin – Grower and shareholder

Ned Morrissey has been a prominent chicken grower in West Waterford for decades. He said he has put his ‘heart and soul’ as well over €100,000 in the past year to making the plant a success.

“I think the problems can be traced back to the two Derby guys who bought the plant in 2008,” Morrissey said.

“The O’Connors who set it up originally had always cared for the business but (Perwaiz) Latif and (Zahid) Hussain didn’t appear to care for us at all. They were taking chicken out of Cappoquin for their business in England but not paying Cappoquin for the produce.”

Morrissey, who is also a dairy farmer, believes consistent poor management decisions has left Cappoquin in the position it’s in. “It’s plain and simple bad management,” he said. “The chicken market in Ireland is doing well and has a future but the decisions made by others have left us where we are.”

Morrissey said he is hopeful of a return to growing but said it will take further sizeable investments.

“It would take me the best part of a year and significant funding to get back to where I was. I’m not sure what will happen but, like more than a lot of growers, I’m remaining hopeful,” he said.

George England, Ballynoe, Cork – Grower and shareholder

George England was the last producer to grow for Cappoquin before its receivership. He was expecting to take in another batch of chicken just days before the company was sold. George, is a large scale grower with 40,000-chicken capacity in two houses.

“I had agreed to take in another batch of chickens,” he said. “My main house had been sitting idle since the previous winter but I got the call to see if I’d take in a couple of batches. The day before they were due to arrive, I was having a bit of difficulty getting the auger in the shed working so I rang Cappoquin to let them know and also see what time they were due to arrive.

“All I was told was: ‘I wouldn’t be so sure about it ...’ I was fairly sure where I stood after that. We had been here before and I knew it didn’t look good for the company,” George said.

England, who is also a beef and tillage farmer in east Cork, said poultry farming was critical to his cash flow. “Every two months, there was a poultry cheque,” he said. “I’m not a major beef or tillage farmer so the poultry was a massive side to my business. There’s now a major hole in my income that will be hard to overcome,” he said.

George has not heard from other processors but is willing to grow again. “I’d be very keen to grow again; I hope there is a future for us,” he said.