Chicken with stuffing© REX/Shutterstock/Cultura

Food and farming business Cranswick has announced the purchase of Crown Chicken, the east Anglia-based poultry integrator for £40m.

Crown Chicken kills about 450,000-500,000 birds a week, and mills feed for its own production and for sale to third parties.

Sales at the business were £83.8m in 2015, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation profit was £6.6m. Crown employs about 400 people across its operations.

The purchase means that, for the first time, Cranswick will have its own primary poultry production facilities to complement Benson Park, a cooked-chicken facility it bought in 2014.

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Matthew Ward, agricultural director at Crown chicken, and Nigel Armes, who is director of the milling operation, will lead the poultry business alongside Benson Park managing director David Park.

This acquisition represents important progress in our long-term growth strategy of developing new product channels in both pork and other proteins Adam Couch, Cranswick

David Thacker, chairman of Crown, is to retire.

Adam Couch, chief executive at Cranswick said: “Crown is a well-respected operator in the UK poultry sector and represents an excellent opportunity for Cranswick to continue the development of its UK poultry business, building on the highly successful acquisition of Benson Park, the market leading producer of premium cooked poultry, in October 2014.

“This acquisition represents important progress in our long-term growth strategy of developing new product channels in both pork and other proteins.”