Every year, WATT Global Media publishes the results of the Top Poultry Companies Survey in WATT PoultryUSA magazine, and updates the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, based on the findings of that survey.

With one of the top companies having recently been acquired, and two more up for sale, future Top Poultry Companies listings are apt to be different.

Tyson Foods’ acquisition of Tecumseh Poultry

According to the 2018 WATT PoultryUSA survey findings, Tyson Foods was the largest broiler company in the United States, having processed 174.80 pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2017. The No. 2 company, Pilgrim’s Pride, processed 154.20 pounds on a weekly basis in 2017, while No. 3 Sanderson Farms saw weekly production figures of 82.5 pounds.

While other factors such as the construction of new plants and production adjustments at other plants often affect the rankings, acquisitions also play a large role in affecting the rankings.

Tyson Foods on June 3 closed on the acquisition of Tecumseh Poultry, also known as MBA Poultry. Tecumseh Poultry was ranked 26th in the 2018 top companies survey for U.S. companies, having processed 2.62 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2017.

Those additional pounds of production, for the moment at least, should solidify Tyson’s position as the top poultry company in the U.S., while allowing those companies ranked below Tecumseh Poultry to move up a notch. The 2018 Top Broiler Companies listing in the March 2018 issue of WATT PoultryUSA included 32 companies.

Potential sale of Hain Pure Protein, Keystone Foods

Two more top broiler companies are expected to find new owners. Hain Celestial, parent company of Hain Pure Protein (HPP), has announced that it was planning to divest of HPP, while Marfrig Global Foods has announced it is selling its Keystone Foods subsidiary.

Should the buyers of either company be an existing top poultry company in the U.S., another rankings shuffle could occur.

Keystone Foods was ranked 10th after the most recent top companies survey, while HPP was ranked 29th among U.S. poultry companies. Keystone’s weekly production of ready-to-cook chicken products was 23.8 million pounds, while HPP’s is much smaller at 1.23 million pounds per week.

Marfrig has revealed that there are five potential buyers for Keystone Foods that qualified to take part in a second phase of bidding. Those potential buyers, who were never officially named by Marfrig, are expected to deliver proposals by the end of June.

Irwin Simon, CEO of Hain Celestial, stated in May that it expected the sale of HPP to close in the first half of fiscal year 2019, which means it would close before the end of the 2018 calendar year. The fourth quarter of Hain Celestial’s 2017 fiscal year concluded on June 30, 2017. He said he thought that HPP would be best suited as part of a larger protein company.

Is more consolidation on the horizon?

Marfrig Global Foods and Hain Celestial are both publicly traded companies, so their divestiture plans for their U.S. poultry businesses were revealed to shareholders. Tecumseh Poultry, meanwhile, was a privately-owned company, so its sale came as a surprise to many.

With that in mind, it could be possible that there might be more consolidation among poultry companies coming. Wait and see.