Norfolk poultry integrator Banham Poultry has been sold to Chesterfield Poultry, saving 1,000 jobs. The firm, which has been in family ownership for 40 years, is the biggest employer in mid-Norfolk, rearing nearly 22 million chickens a year and processing them on site for major supermarkets.
Last week it was revealed the firm was close to collapsing. Bernard Matthews also bid for the business, although it is understood Chesterfield Poultry secured the deal on the basis on preserving the jobs at the site.
Allan Graham and Trevor Birch, both of Duff & Phelps, were appointed Joint Administrators to Banham Poultry Limited and Banham Group Limited on 5 October 2018. Banham Poultry Limited handled processing and Banham Group Limited was responsible for the rearing of poultry. On appointment, the Joint Administrators secured the sale of the businesses, saving both jobs and guaranteeing no breach of animal welfare regulations.
Banham was a family run business, managing and operating a group of chicken rearing farms providing first class laying flocks to the UK and export market. It has been operating in Norfolk for over 50 years and was a leading independent producer in the market with a turnover of circa £150m, accounting for roughly 7% of the UK poultry market.
Banham produces its own chicks, hatches them and rears them all the way through to slaughter. It supplies chickens to major supermarkets and other stores and wholesalers throughout the UK. The company runs its own transport department covering live transport, chilled and frozen distribution, with its network reaching every corner of the UK. It also operates with third party companies in a strong export market.
Processing takes place at its Attleborough plant some 12 miles from Norwich. The business is the largest employer in Breckland, Norfolk employing over 1,000 workers directly or contract staff.
Allan Graham, joint administrator, said “The business has faced a perfect storm in recent months, with increasing margin pressures from supermarket chains as a result of price competition, combined with increases in feed prices. It had been undertaking a number of capital projects designed to improve productivity in the longer term but these have impacted short term profitability which in turn has hit margin.”
Over the past couple of months, the business has been exploring a number of options with the full support of its lender, to ensure the survival of the business.
On appointment Duff & Phelps secured the sale of the business and its assets to Derbyshire based Chesterfield Poultry. The business specialises in chicken production and its products are sold in grocery stores and small supermarkets around the UK, processing over 1,200,000 birds a week.
“The Foulger Family are very pleased to have secured a deal with Chesterfield Poultry to ensure the long-term future of Banham and secure the continued employment of a very loyal workforce, which was always at the forefront of any negotiations,” said Michael Foulger.
“We are delighted to welcome Banham into the Chesterfield family and look forward to continuing the legacy of the brand and quality poultry production in Attleborough,” added Nadeem Iqbal, chief executive of Chesterfield Poultry.
Graham continued: “The sale of the business – covering all assets, employees on permanent contracts, a hatchery and farms and processing plants at Banham – is a success. The swift conclusion of this sale has enabled Duff & Phelps to secure the future of over 1,100 employees, ensuring no break in processing and animal husbandry, guaranteeing the continued supply of high quality poultry to the UK food industry.”