Moy Park sign
Image caption About 6,300 people work for Moy Park in Craigavon, Ballymena and Dungannon

One of Northern Ireland’s biggest employers, the poultry producer Moy Park, has been sold for £1bn.

About 6,300 people work for the company in Craigavon, Ballymena and Dungannon.

The new owner is another major chicken producer, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, which is headquartered in Colorado in the United States.

In a statement announcing the acquisition, it said “Moy Park’s employee base will remain in place”.

Moy Park, which was founded in 1943, was put up for sale in June by its Brazilian owners JBS, which said the move was part of a wider plan to raise money.

Pilgrim’s Pride said the purchase would make it become “a global player” and that it had “approximately $50m (£38m) in annualized synergies” in mind.

Janet McCollum, chief executive of Moy Park, described the development as “positive”.

She added that joining forces with Pilgrim provides “an opportunity to accelerate our growth plans”.

Moy Park also has a significant workforce in Great Britain and supplies chicken and other food products to supermarkets across Europe.

JBS owns 79% of Pilgrim’s Pride and appoints a number of directors to its board.

However it said the decision to buy Moy Park was made by a special committee of three directors “unaffiliated with JBS”.

A statement from Pilgrim’s Pride said: “The special committee was delegated the full authority of the Pilgrim’s board of directors with respect to the transaction”.

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