Manor Farm, which is majority owned by the eighth generation of the Carton family, brothers Justin and Vincent, dates back to 1775 and processes half of all the fresh chicken sold in the Irish retail market.
The company has been sold to Scandi Standard in Sweden in a deal that retains the brothers running the business and becoming shareholders in Scandi Standard.
The initial payment will be partly in the form of Scandi Standard shares and there is also an earn-out mechanism.
In Ireland there are around 130 farmers who are contracted as chicken growers for Manor Farm, and a further 43 farmers are contracted as chicken breeders.
The company, which is accredited by Bird Bia, operates its own feed mill close to its processing plant in Sherlock, County Cavan. Bord Bia is an Irish state agency with the aim of promoting sales of Irish food and horticulture both abroad and in Ireland itself and acts as a link between Irish producers and their customers worldwide.
Vincent Carton said: “In considering a succession of ownership for our family business, my brother Justin and I have been determined to find a partner who will build on our strong relationships with customers, employees, suppliers and the broader communities in which we operate.
“Scandi Standard is that partner, with an outstanding health and quality record in chicken processing. They’re also major chicken product innovators. They understand our business and our commitment to our people. We’re the best at what we do, and Scandi Standard is committed to continuing that.”
The Carton family opened their first chicken processing plant in Dublin in 1956, and the company now employs around 850 people. Last year it had revenue of €164 million, with net earnings before deductions hitting €13 million.
The agreement involves a payment of nearly €70 million in cash and shares, with up to €25 million more available to Manor Farm’s owners based on a series of performance-based targets running to 2020.
Scandi Standard said the deal would still need to be cleared at an extraordinary general meeting, but its four largest shareholders supported the transaction. The sale is expected to be finalised in late August or September.
Scandi Standard said Manor Farm has “profitable and well-run operations” and it was a “clear market leader in a market with strong preference for local produce.”