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Inghams buy Sunnybrand Chickens

BYRON BAY chicken processing company Sunnybrand Chickens has been bought out by Australia’s second-largest chicken processor, Inghams.

A spokeswoman for Inghams confirmed the takeover yesterday, but said the company would not make any further comment.

“All we will say is that we’ve made an offer to Sunnybrand and the stakeholders have accepted,” she said.

The Northern Star was unable to confirm the takeover with Sunnybrand chief executive Bob Hansen, who did not return calls yesterday.

Sunnybrand has been in Byron Bay since 1972 and now employs about 350 people in the region.

Its Ewingsdale Rd facility processes an average of 65,000 chickens a day.

Mr Hansen told ABC Radio the company had been looking for new equity to make sure the business stayed on the Northern Rivers and that Inghams had made a good offer.

He believed the company under Inghams would be very similar.

“I can’t say it’s going to be exactly the same, of course, but it will be very similar,” Mr Hansen said.

Staff at the processing plant said they were informed of the takeover bid on Monday.

Despite a guarantee jobs would be retained, there was still uncertainty.

Trevor Pinkerton, who has worked at Sunnybrand for 26 years, was concerned that a restructure and subsequent job losses were a possibility.

He experienced a takeover at another company that promised jobs were safe and closed down soon after.

“It may be for the better, it may be for the worse,” he said. “We just have to wait and see.”

Meanwhile, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is considering whether it will review the takeover.

Inghams and Baiada dominate the Australian chicken processing market, with a 65% share.


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