Smithfield Foods targets takeover of Polish meat firms

US-based Smithfield Foods claims to be one of the world's largest pork processors

Smithfield Foods has applied to the Polish competition watchdog UOKiK to obtain the permission to acquire local meat processing firms Pini Polska, Hamburger Pini and Royal Chicken, part of Pini Group.

The watchdog outlined the proposed deal, which would involve buying 100% of the acquired companies' shares, in a statement. Pini Polonia, which is also part of Pini Group and operates a pig slaughter and fresh meat facility, is not included in the deal.

Processing capacity to be boosted

“The operational activities of the companies consist of two meat processing plants that are active in the portioned and packed fresh pork meat market, and the processed meat products market,” the statement said. “The acquisition will strengthen the integrated supply chain within Smithfield group in Poland. It will also allow [the group] to raise its production capacities in the field of meat processing to satisfy the increasing demand of Polish and foreign customers for … processed meat products.

The value of the planned takeover was not disclosed in the statement.

Aside from the factories mentioned, a spokesman for Animex, part of Smithfield Group, confirmed to Global Meat News that the proposed acquisition of Royal Chicken's operations consisted of a greenfield production site under construction. The facility is designed to allow the group to add processed poultry meat products to its portfolio. Investment in the site, announced last year, was estimated to be worth about PLN 250 million (€57m) and create 600 jobs.

Pini Group is based in Kutno, in Poland’s central region, where the company also owns a fresh meat production facility. The Italian-owned meat processor specialises in pork meat, and its facility has a capacity of about 4m head per year, according to data released by the company.

In addition to its Poland-based facilities, the Pini family also operates meat processing businesses in Italy, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

Under Polish law, the watchdog’s approval is prerequisite to finalising all takeovers and mergers of Poland-based companies if the concerned entities reported aggregate revenues of at least €1bn worldwide, or €50m in the domestic market in the year that precedes the transaction.

Meat industry consolidation

The potential deal could be the second major transaction in the Polish meat industry this year. Earlier this month, a company controlled by local businessman Zbigniew Dworakowski, owner of local meat processors Unimięs and ZM Peklimar, submitted an application to the UOKiK to merge with meat processor Madej Wróbel.

Should the merger be finalised, the new group will comprise four meat processing facilities with annual revenues of about PLN 1bn (€232m), according to sources close to the deal. The three companies specialise in processing pork and poultry meat.

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