Thai Chicken Processor Golden Foods Siam on the Block

Golden Foods Siam (GFS), which ranks among Thailand’s top five manufacturers and exporters of value-added cooked chicken products, is up for sale. According to a Wall Street Journal dispatch, Navis Capital Partners, the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based private equity firm that has owned GFS since 2009 is looking for a buyer.

Navis Chairman Richard Foyston confirmed that GFS, formerly the Thai division of UK-headquartered Grampian County Food Group, is being shopped around. “We’re just in a testing-the-market stage,” he said. “It may come to fruition in the next couple of months, or maybe not.”

In business for 24 years, the fully integrated poultry processing company has capacity to produce up to 4,000 metric tons of finished product per month at two state-of-the-art plants in Ongkarak, Nakorn Nayok. Frozen items ranging from coated and fried chicken cuts, to skewered specialties, to roasted, grilled and steamed products are exported to retail, foodservice and industrial buyers around the world.

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Navis Capital Partners reportedly paid between $50 million and $100 million for the unit to Holland-headquartered Vion NV (the world’s third largest meat processing company), which acquired Grampian operations in 2008. It had been speculated that the company could fetch up to $300 million, but that was before stock markets in Asia and around the world took a deep dive on August 21.

The Wall Street Journal noted that a number of private equity firms began selling off assets on a pan-Asian basis earlier this year, as growth in regional economies showed signs of a continual slowdown. EQT, a European private equity company, recently sold Singapore-based Classic Fine Foods, an importer and distributor, to German retail chain Metro AG.

According to DealStreetAsia, Nicholas Bloy of Navia Capital Partners is aiming to divest as much as $2 billion worth of its $5 billion portfolio.

Meanwhile, in July Thailand's largest meat and animal feed producer, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CP Foods), announced a deal to buy a Russian poultry business from the Dutch firm Agro Invest Brinky for $680 million in cash. The acquisition provides CP Foods an entry into one of the fastest-growing markets for animal protein, with an average growth rate of 7.4% per annum during the past decade, according to a statement from the Bangkok-headquartered company.

“The Russian deal comes a year after CP Foods began receiving strong orders for chicken from Russia, which has banned or limited imports of agricultural products from the European Union after facing sanctions,” reported the Moscow Times.

"Russia has high growth potential. This is a good opportunity as the country is short of meat supply and has to import pork and chicken to serve domestic demand," said Adirek Sripratak, chief executive officer of CP Foods.