Continental Grain mulls Wayne Farms IPO
Nov. 19, 2014
by Meat&Poultry Staff
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NEW YORK – Based on the high-flying performance of the chicken industry as of late and the cyclical nature of the business, an executive with the parent company of Wayne Farms, Oakwood, Ga., said taking the country’s sixth-largest poultry company public isn’t out of the question. According to a report in the Financial Times
, Paul Fribourg, chairman and CEO of Continental Grain Co., discussed in a New York forum how the current commodities cycle for chicken favors consideration of a public offering for the company. Market conditions have shifted dramatically from several years ago when feed prices were high and chicken prices lagged.
“Today the cycle has gone to the other extreme, where you have incredibly high chicken prices and very low grain prices,” Fribourg said in the Times
report. “It’s not going to last. So at the top of the cycle we’re now looking at ways to lock in either long-term margins, or possibly, for example, take our chicken company public,” he said.
Wayne Farms reports annual sales of approximately $1.9 billion and operates 11 processing facilities in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina. Combined, the plants process 5 billion lbs. of poultry products per year.
Continental Grain Co. was founded in 1813 and is one of the largest privately held companies in the world with estimated revenues of $14 billion. It was one of the largest shareholders of Smithfield Foods before Shuanghui International [now known as WH Group] acquired the pork processor in September 2013.