Two options for future of Doux’s poultry business

Troubled French poultry company, Doux, has received two offers to recover its ailing business.

Photo by Andrea Gantz
Photo by Andrea Gantz

Troubled French poultry company, Doux, has received two offers to recover its ailing business.

Business difficulties encountered by Doux in recent times may be resolved as early as next month by the commercial court in the city of Rennes, according to a statement from the Economy Ministry of France.

Following the search for a new buyer launched late last year, the court will determine which of the two offers that were received by the deadline of March 29 represents the best future for the troubled firm. Serious offers and credible recovery plans were presented Ukraine-based Mironivsky Hliboproduct (MHP), and by a consortium of entities from the French poultry sector. The latter group includes the LDC poultry company, Terrena cooperative, and Doux’s leading customer, Al-Munajem of Saudi Arabia.

Any realistic recovery plan will be supported by the French state and local authorities to provide long-term prospects for Doux’s employees and poultry producers. Brittany Region has offered up to EUR15 million (US$18.5 million) to support a sustainable future for the firm.

Doux has been experiencing business difficulties and resulting upheavals for some years. In 2012, the company spent time in administration, and faced the loss of export subsidies amounting to EUR60 million (US$71 million).

It was incorporated into a new poultry division with Gastronome, known as Galliance, by Terrena in 2016. Based on the prospect of strong growth in its home and export markets, Terrena made significant changes and investments aimed at growing its poultry business.

With an annual revenue of EUR1.3 billion, 6,000 employees and 1,400 farmers, Galliance has become France’s second largest poultry company, according to its web site, and leads in exports of French products. Doux’s identity has been maintained through the export division.

Also involved in the French-based rescue plan for Doux is LDC, which is Europe’s largest poultry producer, according to WattAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database. Founded in 1968, LDC remains under mainly family ownership. In 2016-17, its turnover was EUR3.6 billion with 18,500 employees at 75 production sites in France and Poland.

Abdullah Ali Almunajem Sons Company (Al-Munajem) is a leading food company in Saudi Arabia. With 15,000 employees, it has interests in a range of businesses from the food industry and restaurant chains to distribution and real estate. Its Almunajem Meat Factory in Jeddah produces 15,000 tons of various meat products annually.

In 2014, a 25 percent stake in Doux was sold to Almunajem.

An alternative plan for Doux’s future has been offered by Ukraine-based agro-industrial group, MHP. It focuses mainly on the production of grain and poultry, but also has operations in meat processing through to ready-to-eat products. In 2017, the MHP Group achieved a 13 percent increase in revenue to almost US$1.28 billion, with exports accounting for 57 percent of the total. Overall poultry production was down slightly from the previous year at 566,242 metric tons, but strong demand from the European Union and Middle East-North Africa pushed up the firm’s chicken exports by 16 percent.

MHP made its first foray into western Europe in 2016, opening a poultry processing plant in The Netherlands. Last year, the firm established a processing plant in Slovakia to support its export growth strategy.

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