John Thompson & Sons has acquired the GE McLarnon & Sons ruminant business and brand from Moy Park. It will transfer the volume to its Belfast Mill, while Moy Park will invest in the former McLarnon feed mill at Randalstown to make it a dedicated poultry facility.
Moy Park, now part of the Brazilian global proteins business JBS, acquired the McLarnon business and its feed mill in 2010 through its purchase of O’Kane Poultry. The mill, which currently has separate poultry and ruminant feed lines, will be converted to poultry feed-only manufacture, to service the integrated business’ core broiler poultry operations alongside feeds from its other mills.
The Thompson business is jointly owned by Dublin-based Origin Enterprises, parent of the Agrii agronomy services business in the UK as well as similar companies in Poland and Romania. The other partner is W&R Barnett, the Belfast company that also jointly owns the R&H Hall feed materials importer with Origin.
“Moy Park has undergone significant growth over the past two years, and is now processing over five million fresh chickens per week throughout the UK,” states Moy Park director of agriculture David Gibson. “Now is the right time to optimise our own mill capacity in support of our business and this will also enable a £1.2 million mill investment to be made in 2016.
“The McLarnon ruminant business is a natural match with Thompson’s own expertise in this field of livestock production, and we are pleased to see it transfer to an environment where it will continue to thrive and grow in the future and where the long heritage of McLarnon will continue.”
Thompson chief executive Declan Billington adds: “Given Moy Park’s focus on poultry expansion and our long-term relationship with them, it seemed only natural that we would come together to support the growth prospects of the McLarnon ruminant business.
“The business will continue to trade its own unique brand and range of products and services with which the McLarnon customer base is comfortable - we view this as a complementary business to our own. The McLarnon reputation for quality products and excellent technical support fits perfectly with the Thompson philosophy, and we believe this acquisition will enable us to support the future growth ambitions of the McLarnon sales team.”
The McLarnon business was established in County Antrim in 1929 to supply local farmers, and has grown to supply farmers across Northern Ireland. It has invested in the feed mill over the years - the UFAS-approved plant is fully automated, with guaranteed traceability from feed ingredients to finished products. The dedicated ruminant lines make dairy, beef and sheep feeds for third party customers, while the poultry-only lines service internal demand. It is also Ireland’s largest turkey feed supplier.
The business says that all its farm support staff are experienced in livestock production and qualified to advise on nutritional and technical matters, while the company maintains strong links with Queens University Belfast, AFBI and CAFRE Greenmount to keep up to date with the science.