Business

Poultry producer Moy Park posts a ‘strong performance' after acquisition

Moy Park's Dungannon facility

UNDERLYING profits at poultry producer Moy Park increased 2 per cent to £45.5 million last year in what chief executive Janet McCollum described as a "strong performance".

Revenue for the year to January 2 2015 increased by 1.4 per cent to £1.4 billion.

After taking account of exceptional items, profit before tax was £9.4m - down 71 per cent on the previous year.

Moy Park is Northern Ireland's largest company employing around 6,000 people across sites in Craigavon, Dungannon and Ballymena.

It is the first set of annual accounts since the company was acquired in September by Brazilian group JBS, the world’s largest protein company and the second largest global food business.

Ms McCollum said the company's performance was " delivered against the backdrop of a highly competitive market, foreign exchange headwinds, commodity price deflation and export restrictions".

“One of the highlights for the business was processing, for the first time, over five- million chickens per week, which is a significant milestone," she said.

“As part of our £170 million strategic investment programme, the company invested £28 million in our industry-leading operations, securing Moy Park’s position as one of the UK’s most advanced food manufacturing companies. A further £30 million was invested in our agricultural base through our farming partners. Positive cash flow throughout the year enabled us to do this whilst reducing net debt."

The company said sales grew in volume in the UK and Ireland markets and continental Europe market by 8 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

It said exceptional items related to the closure of its Wisbech site and the write off of costs incurred on the potential floating of the business on the London stock market.

Ms McCollum added: "“We continue to build our business to the highest standards of food safety and quality, and to meet and exceed the ever evolving expectations of our customers and consumers.

“Amongst the many awards received by the company during 2015 we were particularly honoured to be recognised as UK Food Manufacturing Company of the Year, an achievement in which the entire Moy Park team can take great pride.”

Moy Park was sold last year by another Brazilian firm Marfrig which had initially acquired it in 2008.

JBS started to expand its international operations in 2007 in North America but the £1.5bn Moy Park deal was its first foray into Europe.

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