Two of the UK’s largest integrated fresh poultrymeat businesses, Cargill and Faccenda Foods, are to merge their operations into a new joint venture company, subject to clearance from the competition authorities.

The move would see Cargill’s fresh chicken business in the UK joining Faccenda’s fresh chicken, turkey and duck business to form a new company, whose trading name is yet to be revealed. The standalone business would be equally owned by the two shareholders. Faccenda Foods managing director Andy Dawkins is to be chief executive of the JV with Chris Hall, fresh chicken director for Cargill Meats Europe, chief commercial officer.

Cargill says it processes 2.1 million birds/week in the UK at its plants in Hereford and Gloucestershire. Northamptonshire-based Faccenda handles 2m chickens each week plus 4.5m turkeys and 5.5m ducks each year at its HQ facilities in Brackley and sites in Derbyshire, the East Midlands, Lincolnshire, Shropshire and Abergavenny in Wales. With the UK slaughtering an average 19.5 million chickens each week in the July 2016 – July 2017 year, the JV would have around 21% of the UK fresh chicken market.

The Faccenda operation includes  two feed mills, while Cargill Meats Europe has a single UK feed mill.

Cargill will continue to process and sell cooked poultry products in the UK from its Wolverhampton facility under its own name, as well as continuing its poultry import, trading and distribution activities. Its European poultry businesses in France, Russia and the Netherlands are unaffected by the UK deal. Faccenda will retain its shareholding in Dartmouth Foods, the Plymouth-based cooked poultry products business. 

The partners say the move would bring together two complementary businesses with a track record of success, shared values and a strong reputation in the UK poultry market. It would have the capability to respond to changing customer needs in both the retail and food service sectors.

“We believe the two organisations are complementary,” notes Chris Langholz, president of Cargill Poultry. “Combining into one entity allows us to build on our strengths, grow in the market and better serve our customers. The venture will facilitate greater opportunities to innovate and deliver new and exciting poultry products for consumers.”

Ian Faccenda, chief executive Faccenda Investments adds: “Both Cargill and Faccenda are recognised today by their customers for their high standards and great service. The new joint venture confirms our long-term commitment to being a responsible partner across the entire supply chain, providing stability and security to our customers, suppliers and growers for years to come.”