Poultry firms announce plan for joint venture supporting 6,000 jobs

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Food firms Cargill and Faccenda, both of which have major operations in the West Midlands, have agreed to establish a joint venture business aimed at capturing a large portion of the UK’s poultry market.

The new business, which will employ around 6,000 people, will be focused on chicken, turkey and duck.

The joint venture offers greater capacity meaning it will be better placed to respond to changing customer needs in the retail and food service sectors.

The formation of the new business is subject to clearance by the relevant regulatory authorities.

The plan is for Cargill’s fresh chicken business, which has operations in Hereford and Wolverhampton, to merge with Faccenda’s fresh chicken, turkey and duck business, which has operations in Dudley and Telford.

The result will be a standalone business, with Cargill and Faccenda taking an equal shareholding.

Andy Dawkins, managing director for Faccenda Foods, will be appointed CEO of the newly formed company, while Chris Hall, fresh chicken director for Cargill Meats Europe, will be appointed Chief Commercial Officer.

Employees will be drawn from both companies and it will operate across multiple agriculture and operational centres.

Chris Langholz, president of Cargill Poultry, said: “We believe the two organisations are complementary. 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, CEO of Faccenda Investments, said the JV confirmed the long-term goal of both companies to be a responsible partner across the entire supply chain, adding the merger would provide stability and security for customers, suppliers and growers alike.

Separate to this, Cargill has said it will continue to process and sell cooked poultry products in Balliol, Wolverhampton, as well as operate its poultry import, trading and distribution business.

Cargill will also continue to operate its European poultry businesses in France, Russia and the Netherlands. Faccenda will retain its shareholding in Dartmouth Foods.

The name of the new joint venture will be announced once the deal has closed.

Unite, which represents many of the workers at both companies, has given a cautious welcome to the plan.

Joe Clarke, the union’s lead national officer for the food sector, said: “We are giving this proposed merger a cautious welcome. It is early days for this joint venture, but we think that this agreement may be a positive development for both businesses.

“It will increase the strength of these companies within a very tough sector, especially as Brexit looms.

“The consultation process starts on October 9 and our goal is to get clarity about future job security for our approximately 2,000 members currently employed by these two companies. Job retention is key for us.

“We wish to work constructively to maintain and further develop our working arrangements with both these firms.”