China-based meat giant WH Group has applied for permission from competition regulators in Poland to buy local processor Pini Poland.
The UOKiK, Poland’s anti-trust watchdog, said WH Group’s US arm Smithfield Foods had applied to purchase Pini Poland, along with two of its subsidiaries, Hamburger Pini and Royal Chicken.
The regulator said Pini’s operations comprise two processing plants packing and portioning fresh pork and processed meat products.
A spokesperson for Smithfield said the deal would provide capacity to help the company meet demand in Poland and in international markets.
“The Pini acquisition, including Pini Polska, Hamburger Pini and Royal Chicken, will strengthen Smithfield’s vertically integrated supply chain in Poland and increase our production capacity to satisfy growing demand for our packaged meats products domestically and abroad. Pini boasts two, new state-of-the-art facilities with modern equipment and lines to produce the highest quality packaged meats products,” the spokesperson said.
The Smithfield spokesperson added the “current expected timeline” for the competition regulator to make its assessment is “approximately four to five weeks”.
WH Group’s existing operations in Poland include Animex Foods and Agri Plus, which the Chinese company attained when it bought Smithfield Foods in 2013.
Animex Foods is the largest pork, poultry and processed meat company in Poland, according to its website. The site describes Agri Plus as the biggest pig producer in the country.
Last month, WH Group booked a 17% rise in annual profits, boosted by what the company said was record earnings derived from its domestic market and the US. Turnover for the year ended 31 December increased by 1.5%.