GM Poultry

Boparan Private Office agreed to acquire Norfolk-based chicken processor Banham Poultry in October last year

The competition watchdog has given the go ahead for Ranjit Boparan to expand his chicken empire with clearance for the acquisition of Banham Poultry.

After taking a closer look at the transaction and launching a phase 1 inquiry in January, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) cleared the deal today (Friday 25 March 2022).

It decided the takeover would not substantially weaken competition in the poultry market despite Boparan owning the UK’s biggest poultry supplier in 2 Sisters and turkey giant Bernard Matthews.

A spokesman for Boparan Private Office (BPO) said: “We are pleased with the CMAs decision and look forward to building a successful business.”

BPO agreed to acquire Norfolk-based chicken processor Banham Poultry in October last year. A spokesman said at the time the deal would secure the jobs of more than 1,000 staff working at Banham, as well as many more across the supply chain.

The CMA stopped BPO from fully integrating Banham into the rest of Boparan’s business in November while it decided whether to launch an investigation.

Banham was previously acquired by Chesterfield Poultry back in 2018 in a pre-pack rescue deal after the business was hit by a number of challenges.

The company, which generated revenues of £145m in the year ended 30 June 2020, has been hit by a number of setbacks following the 2018 deal, including being forced to close the Norfolk factory in August 2020 after more than 120 staff tested positive for Covid.

The almost month-long shutdown cost the business about £2m a week and led to the culling of close to 380,000 chickens, with a stock loss of £3.8m.

In 2021, a chemical spill at the factory led to a number of staff being taken to hospital in an incident that the Health and Safety Executive is examining. It followed an earlier incident in October 2018 when two pest control subcontractors were found dead at the plant. The factory has also been involved in two fires in 2019 and 2020.