Wed | Oct 23, 2019

Jamaica Broilers adds chicken to US operation

Published:Thursday | September 26, 2019 | 4:15 PMSteven Jackson - Senior Business Reporter
Ian Parsard

The takeover of Gentry’s Poultry in the United States last week marks Jamaica Broilers Group’s entry into chicken production in that market.

“This is the first that we are selling processed chicken in the USA. Prior to the acquisition of Gentry’s, we sold fertile hatching eggs as well as baby chicks,” said senior vice president of finance Ian Parsard.

Jamaica Broilers earns about 40 per cent of its revenue and 30 per cent of annual profit from the its US operations. Parsard declined to disclose past revenue or projections arising from the recent acquisition.

“We are not at liberty to disclose that information at the current time. We will in due course have some financial details for the general and investing publics,” he said.

Gentry’s Poultry Company was started informally in the 1940s by Matt Gentry, who incorporated and expanded the business in the 1950s but maintained the family ownership, according to the company’s website.  The South Carolina based company operates a poultry processing plant that sells fresh chicken products to restaurants, institutions, grocers and brokers.

Gentry’s serves customers in South Carolina and neighbouring states, said Parsard.

The price paid for the business was not disclosed, but Jamaica Broilers has said it represented less than 10 per cent of the group’s net worth. Up to July, the poultry company held equity of $15 billion, which puts the acquisition price below $1.5 billion. 

The deal in the form of an asset purchase agreement was executed through Jamaica Broilers’ US-based subsidiary Wincorp Properties. Wincorp took over the day to day operations of the plant with immediate effect and will rebrand it as a The Best Dressed Chicken operation.

The US National Chicken Council says the United States has the largest broiler chicken industry in the world with some nine billion chickens produced annually. It names Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina and Mississippi as the top producing states.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com