The proposed merger between the UK poultry feed unit connected to chicken giant 2 Sisters Food Group and the local subsidiary of Dutch firm ForFarmers has been called off.

2Agriculture, the UK-based feed business owned by 2 Sisters’ founder Ranjit Singh Boparan through his private investment vehicle, had announced a planned partnership and merger with ForFarmers UK in July.

In a statement acknowledging the two entities have “decided to abandon” the plan, ForFarmers UK said: “The parties have taken into consideration, among other things, the current impact on their respective businesses, the duration and costs involved and the impact this process has on both employees and farmers.”

Contacted by Just Food, a spokesperson for 2 Sisters and a representative for the Boparan Private Office investment vehicle, referred this publication to the same statement.

No mention was made to the investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the planned merger revealed in December.

At the time, the CMA cited concerns that a partnership “could unfairly favour Boparan’s chicken farming and processing businesses, resulting in less choice for smaller chicken farmers and processors, who might rely on ForFarmers and Boparan for their chicken feed”.

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The CMA also acknowledged the cancellation of the plan: “The CMA has received written assurances from the parties that the proposed joint venture between ForFarmers and Boparan has been abandoned,” the competition body noted in a statement yesterday (8 February).

ForFarmers UK, based in the town of Newbridge in Caerphilly, south Wales, suggested some of the benefits a merger with 2Agriculture in Bury St. Edmunds would create.

It “would have made for a robust business, with improved expertise and presence across species, to successfully meet the changing demands from the entire value chain”, the statement read. “This included helping farmers realise the transition towards a more sustainable way of farming with enhanced returns.”

ForFarmers’ Dutch parent claims to be the largest feed producer in Europe, with operations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, as well as the UK. The business generated revenue of about EUR2.7bn (US$2.9bn) in 2021.