Kerry Group sells meat and meals business to U.S.’s Pilgrim’s Pride

30 Jun 2021

Ireland’s Kerry Group announced that it has sold its U.K. and Irish Consumer Foods’ Meats and Meals business to the U.S.’s Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation for €819 million ($975 million). The transaction is expected to close in Q4 of this year.

The division, which includes brands such as Richmond, Dairygold and Galtee, primarily serves the U.K. market and brings both well-known brands and a substantial balance sheet into Pilgrim’s Pride’s portfolio. Last year, the Meats and Meals business earned profit before tax of €63 million ($75 million) last year on €828 million euros ($986 million) of revenue.

Kerry Group sells meat and meals business to U.S.’s Pilgrim’s Pride
Image courtesy of Kerry Group

Pilgrim’s Pride, which is one of the largest poultry producers in the U.S., is expanding its footprint the U.K. market in a category with which it is familiar. Kerry’s Meats business is a leading manufacturer of branded and private label meats while the Meals business primarily specializes in authentic ethnic chilled and frozen ready meals. Already, Pilgrim’s has a division in the U.K. and is the U.K.’s number one pig farmer, operating across several hundred farms and offering its products in many of Britain’s leading retailers and foodservice outlets.

While this transaction presents an opportunity for Pilgrim’s to step more firmly into the prepared food space, for Kerry, offloading this department is another step in its strategic efforts to align itself with today’s megatrends of health and wellness as well as sustainability.

“This transaction further enhances Kerry’s focus as a leading business to business ingredient solutions provider for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets,” Kerry’s CEO Edmond Scanlon said in a release.

Earlier this year, analysts from Barclays noted that Kerry’s growth targets as a company would be underpinned by immunity enhancement, authentic cooking and plant proteins. For the next three years, the company intends to focus on these avenues for its innovation in both retail and foodservice. While the company said in its press release that the proceeds from the sale will be used for “general corporate purposes” as well as continued strategic development of its Taste and Nutrition business, it is clear that the funds propelling the direction of the company will continue to follow consumers.

Still, not all of Kerry’s business units are hyper-trendy. The Irish conglomerate still has a dairy portfolio in its Consumer Foods Business arm, which the company said it will separate and realign. However, its strategic review of the dairy business has been completed and there will be no disposal of the dairy business at this time.

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