New Zealand poultry group Tegel Foods has applied for anti-trust clearance to buy smaller local rival Brinks.

The Commerce Commission, New Zealand's competition watchdog, said it would judge whether the takeover would "substantially" lessen competition in the local poultry sector.

Brinks supplies fresh and frozen chicken meat and processed chicken meat products to retailers and foodservice operators in New Zealand.

Tegel is New Zealand's largest poultry group, employing 1,700 people throughout the country.