News 626 views update:Mar 9, 2016

UK poultry merger cleared by trade commission

The 2 Sisters purchase of Vion's UK operations has been approved by the Office of Fair trading, which has ruled the merger would not impact competition within the country’s poultry industry.

The news finalises the deal and will come as a relief to farmers and employees of the company, Poultry World reports.

An OFT investigation is normally triggered when a merger takes the company's market share above 25%. It is understood that 2 Sisters, incorporating the Vion business, controls about a 38% share of the UK broiler business. A spokesperson for the OFT said that, in clearing the merger, it had been confident that there would be "no lessening in competition" in the poultry industry, and "consumer prices wouldn't be impacted".

A spokesperson for 2 Sisters said: "The integration of both the red meat business and the poultry business can now proceed. 2 Sisters welcomes the timely outcome of the OFT's review, which now enables the Group to move forward with plans to invest and improve the Vion business, which remains loss-making, and further develop the red meat (beef and lamb) business, which offers growth potential."

At the time of the announcement of the intended takeover last March, 2 Sisters made clear it already had the tacit approval of both the Welsh business minister Edwina Hart and the Scottish finance secretary John Swinney, though the OFT works independently of government.

Jake Davies

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