Thailand-based multinational conglomerate, Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) has acquired a majority share in Norfolk Foods in its first investment foray into the South Asian country.

According to Daily Mirror of Sri Lanka, CP Group has agreed to purchase an 80 percent stake in Norfolk Foods in a deal valued at LKR600 million (US$4.1 million) through its subsidiary, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF). A 50 percent share has been acquired from Norfolk Foods’ parent company, Expolanka Holdings PLC, and the other 30 percent is being purchased from the company’s founders, Habeeb Mohamed Ziauddin and Hamzathul Zareeha Ziauddin. CP Group also has a call option to buy the balance 20 percent stake.

According to its web site, Norfolk Foods is a British-Sri Lankan joint venture offering quality, halal-assured meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian products that have been manufactured in a modern, hygienic, HACCP-approved plant with state-of-the-art technology. Products include meats, kebabs, prepared foods and breaded items.

The transaction has opened the door for CPF to enter the food business in Sri Lanka and expand its production base. CP Group already has an extensive presence in about 16 countries, mainly in Asia.

CPF is a global business with interests in, among many others, an integrated chicken business and aquaculture feed enterprise in Sri Lanka’s neighbor, India.

A year ago, CPF’s board of directors entered into discussions to buy an integrated poultry business in Russia from Agro Invest Brinky B.V.

Expolanka Holdings focusing on non-food sectors

The sale of Norfolk Foods appears to be part of a restructuring by Expolanka as it focuses on its activities in non-food sectors, which include freight & logistics, travel & leisure, and investment & services.

“This divestment is in continuation of our strategy to position Expolanka as a focused Sri Lankan multinational, with a dominant South Asian footprint,” Shantanu Nagpal, Expolanka’s Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development said. “This divestment will enable us to concentrate even more on our core businesses and free up capital for future growth.”