The world’s largest meat packer, Brazilian company JBS, has bought Moy Park in Northern Ireland from its owner Marfrig Global Foods for around US$1.5bn.

Marfrig said the sale would enable it to significantly reduce its debt (currently at about US$5bn) and focus more intensely on pursuing growth opportunities – in particular expanding the food service business of Keystone in both Asia and the US.

The transaction is subject to approval from authorities, including antitrust bodies in the EU, and is expected to be signed by the end of 2015.

Headquartered in Craigavon, Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s largest private sector employer, with a total workforce of 12,000 people in Ireland, Britain, and mainland Europe.

It accounted for 26pc of Marfrig’s revenues and has consistently shown annual growth with revenues of €1.9bn recorded last year.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com