Fujian Sunner Development (Sunner), a leading vertically integrated chicken meat producer in China, and U.S.-based global investment firm KKR have signed a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest approximately $400 million for an 18 percent stake in Sunner. KKR and Sunner will form a strategic partnership to expand the company's operations to provide safe and high-quality chicken products to Chinese consumers.

The transaction is subject to customary approvals.

Sunner is China's largest breeder, processor and supplier of chicken products, providing fresh and frozen chicken for China's fast food industry, food manufacturing industry and meat wholesale markets. Through its vertically integrated facilities, Sunner has oversight of the full production chain, ranging from chicken farming to the management of feed mills to processing, which better ensures safe and quality food products.

Fu Guangming, chairman of Sunner, said: "Chicken is the most efficient form of animal protein, and the market demand for high-quality chicken products is expected to remain strong. We are very excited to bring in a world leading investment firm such as KKR as our long-term strategic investor, as we share the same commitment to provide the best quality and safest food products to Chinese consumers. We look forward to leveraging KKR's global resources and operational expertise to further strengthen Sunner's market leadership, and to meet the growing domestic demand for healthy chicken."

The partnership is a reflection of KKR's commitment to help address the growing demand in China for a safer and more secure food supply. "Partnering with companies that meet China's demand for increased food safety is one of our key focuses for China investments. Sunner is a market leader in China's chicken farming industry. It has an experienced management team and meets the highest operating standards. We look forward to working with them by providing capital, KKR's global resources and operational expertise to further strengthen Sunner's market leadership, contribute to China's food safety initiatives and bring safe and high-quality chicken to Chinese consumers," said David Liu, member of KKR and CEO of KKR Greater China.

"Vertically integrated chicken farming is a key solution to the food safety threats facing China's animal protein sector. Sunner has an excellent track record and has thoughtfully constructed its farms and processing facilities at strategic locations to ensure chicken quality and health. It is a unique company within its industry with an outstanding management team and we look forward to partnering with Sunner as it expands its operations to meet the increasing consumer demand for safe high-quality protein," added Julian Wolhardt, member of KKR.