Troubled Brazilian multinational meat packing business JBS has divested the UK-based Moy Park integrated poultry business – to its US subsidiary Pilgrim’s Pride.

J&F Investimentos, the holding company behind JBS, put Moy Park on the market in June as part of a sale of non-core and strategic assets prompted by Real$10.3 billion fine by the Brazilian authorities after an investigation into financial corruption at the company.

Pilgrim’s Pride has agreed to pay $1.0 billion (£790m) for Moy Park in a transaction it says was unanimously approved by a special committee of the Pilgrim’s board, comprised entirely of independent equity directors, by a vote controlled by the shareholders unaffiliated with JBS.

The US business says Moy Park will continue as a business unit within Pilgrim’s under its current management team led by chief executive Janet McCollum and at the headquarters in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. However, it has told investors that it expects to secure $50m savings over the next two years.

 “We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Moy Park, which will position Pilgrim’s to become a global player, with an improved and more stable margin profile on the chicken business and an expanded portfolio of prepared foods,” says Pilgrim’s chief executive Bill Lovette. “The acquisition gives us access to the attractive UK and European markets, which advances our strategy of diversifying our portfolio to be more global while reducing volatility across our businesses. We will have new business opportunities through the addition of Moy Park’s fully integrated poultry production platform and its strong presence in prepared foods. Moy Park strengthens Pilgrim’s’ leading portfolio of brands and brings strong value-added innovation capabilities, access to new markets, a best-in-class production platform and strong farmer partner relationships.”

Ms McCollum adds: “This announcement is a positive development for Moy Park and all our colleagues employed across the business. Pilgrim’s is one of the leading chicken producers in the world with a proven track record and we see great opportunities for Moy Park as part of this successful business. Joining Pilgrim’s gives us the opportunity to accelerate our growth plans, share best practices and leverage Pilgrim’s expertise and operational excellence. Moy Park will provide Pilgrim’s with a platform for growth in Europe as well as access to innovation and increased exposure to prepared foods.”

Moy Park, founded in Northern Ireland in 1943, is nowlargest private sector business in Northern Ireland, a top 10 UK food company and one of Europe’s leading poultry producers with a 25% share of the Western Europe market. It integrates more than 800 farmers across the UK with 13 processing plants in the UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands to process more than 5.7 million birds per week for major food retailers and food service operations in the UK and Europe.