British Indian Chicken Tycoon May Sell Irish Fish Firm
Ranjit Singh Boparan, who owns the 2 Sisters Food group, is reportedly planning to sell off his Irish fish supply firm Donegal Catch for £50 million.
British businessman Ranjit Singh Boparan, who owns the 2 Sisters Food group, is planning to sell his Irish fish supply company Donegal Catch for £50 million after a scandal around food safety measures at his chicken warehouses was exposed, according to reports.
Boparan has reportedly hired corporate finance advisers from Clearwater International to work on the sale of the Irish subsidiary. In January, he sold his Goodfella’s Pizza for £200 million to Bird’s Eye frozen food owner Nomad Foods.
The food company 2 Sisters also said it would be closing three of its factories, Smethwick and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, and at Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, that would mean job loss for around 900 people. The company was in debts worth £824 million last year after acquiring multiple competitors like Northern Foods in 2011, turkey business Bernard Matthews and restaurant chains FishWorks, Giraffe and Harry Ramsden’s. Boparan also acquired Northern Foods’ final-salary pension scheme, which has 17,000 members.
In 2017, an undercover investigation conducted by Guardian and ITV News showed employees at factories changing the best by dates on food labels, and picking up dead poultry from the floor to return it to a production line in a factory in West Bromwich.
In October 2017, Boparan apologized for the unsanitary practices.
“We absolutely apologize for the doubt this has caused to our customers, consumers and employees,” Boparan told MPs of the parliamentary committee, according to PTI. “These four weeks have been very difficult for a lot of people. Mistakes happen but what we try to do is learn from the mistakes and put them right.”
In October 2017, the Indian-origin businessman was also in talks to merge his Fox’s Biscuits brand with the maker of Jammy Dodgers, produced by Burton’s Biscuit Company, to list it on the London Stock Exchange.
The company reportedly has £250 million of bonds that have to be repaid in 2019 and hence the aggressive restructuring. Credit ratings agency Moody’s had downgraded 2 Sister’s debt rating into junk territory because of its massive debts and small profit margin.
Boparan also landed in trouble recently for sending Christmas hampers to MPs investigating the hygiene scandal at his factories.