Boparan Holdings, the parent company of UK poultry major 2 Sisters Food Group, is said to have entered talks with hedge funds to raise capital.
Sky News reported the GBP50m (US$67.1m) sought by Boparan Holdings, owned by multi-millionaire and businessman Ranjit Singh Boparan, is aimed at helping 2 Sisters navigate labour shortages and supply chain challenges during the Christmas period.
Quoting unnamed sources, the broadcaster said the business is in talks with several hedge funds with a view to closing a deal within days. A spokesperson for 2 Sisters, the UK’s largest poultry processor, of which Mr. Boparan is president, said the company had “nothing to add” when contacted by Just Food.
The so-called ‘chicken king’ has been vocal in recent months over the labour shortages 2 Sisters and its meat-processing industry peers are facing post-Brexit, an issue made worse by Covid-19. He has also been voiceful about how consumers will have to get used to higher prices in the face of rising input costs amid warnings from turkey suppliers over a possible shortage of birds for Christmas.
In October, the UK government temporarily relaxed visa rules for overseas butchers to enter the country to help ease the labour crisis and they were expected to start arriving this month under an application scheme that runs to 31 December.
Mr. Boparan has also recently entered the M&A market, announcing a deal in October for UK-based Banham Poultry through his investment vehicle Boparan Private Office. The transaction is currently under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority watchdog. Poultry processor Bernard Matthews is also under the auspices of the businessman’s empire.
He has also offloaded a number of companies that were part of the 2 Sisters business. In September, it was revealed 2 Sisters was looking to close its Elkes Biscuits factory in the English Midlands, which had remained under the UK manufacturer’s ownership after the business sold the bulk of its biscuits operations to Ferrero last year.
Other disposals in recent years include the Matthew Walkers Christmas puddings arm, seafood business Donegal Catch, its Goodfella’s pizza assets, its red-meat operations and the Manton Wood sandwich unit.
Back in July, the businessman warned the UK meat industry was facing a “perfect storm” from labour pressures, inflation and Brexit-related issues.