Rescued Irish poultry processor to enter Halal market

Greater efficiencies, staff reduction and wage cuts are part of the new order at Cappoquin Chickens as the troubled company continues to trade and supply loyal customers who stuck with it through receivership and liquidation.

Derby Poultry’s Perwiaz Latif, now managing director at Cappoquin and Zahid Hussain rescued the Irish company from closure.

Mr Hussain, says the company, now called Cappoquin Poultry, will remain separate from Derby Poultry and retain its own Irish identity, brand, markets, management and staff. The priority is to revamp the company and to continue to supply Irish customers, as well as producing Halal poultry and more value added products such as cooked, breaded and ethnic poultry.

“The first thing is to restructure the company and that is what we are doing at the moment to make it more viable and move forward,” Mr Hussain told Poultry World. “Then we will be implementing our plans [for Halal] in the first quarter of next year.”

In Ireland the growing Moslem community is buying imported Halal poultry and Mr Hussain feels this is a gap Cappoquin can fill.

About 150 of the original 250 staff continue to work for Cappoquin having taken a reduction in salary. The company hatchery was sold by the liquidator to Western Board Chickens, so Cappoquin is buying in day olds from Annyalla hatchery and has no immediate plans to set up a new hatchery.

At the time of going to print, deals had not been reached with all the poultry farmers who formerly supplied Cappoquin.

“We’ve got to look at economy, efficiency and effectiveness and a long term solution to the problems (at Cappoquin),” said Mr Hussain. “There has to be cost cutting, because the company was losing in excess of €3m (£2.4m) per year.

The Ned Morrissey, a grower and chairman of the Irish Farmers Association’s poultry committee which represents 15 growers, says that some birds are being raised in company owned sheds and some by non-IFA members but the company expects farmers to rear birds at cost.

“We have had two years of growing chickens at cost already and we are very much out of pocket, so there is no possibility of going on like that. The price we need to get is €365/1000 birds (£292). The only offer they made is €335 (£268),” said Mr Morrissey.

Michael O’Connor is delighted to be back at his desk as sales director and says current output is up to 150,000 birds per week.

“Staff work a four day week, but we want to get production back up to more than 200,000. Not all farmers and customers are back on board. It is important for all of us, including the farmers, that this business is profitable. But it has to get its foot on the first rung.”

Cappoquin Poultry

  • Restructuring to cut costs
  • Plans to enter Halal sector
  • Still reaching deals with farmers

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