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Chinese firms buy leading UK-based duck breeder

By Angus McNeice in London | | Updated: 2017-09-14 00:28

Two Chinese companies have acquired a leading British poultry firm which supplies the breed of the famed Peking roast ducks.

Cherry Valley Farms, which sells ducks to more than 60 countries and regions, has been bought by Beijing Capital Agribusiness and CITIC Agriculture Fund.

The joint deal is worth $183 million according to media reports, and includes breeding technologies and patent rights.

Cherry Valley Farms was sold by London 8 Limited, a company controlled by Malaysia-based Navis Capital, the breeder said in a statement.

Based in Lincolnshire, north east England, Cherry Valley Farms is the market leader in the global duck primary breeding business with an overall market share of over 75 percent.

The company has supplied British consumers for more than 50 years. It is China's largest supplier of Pekin ducks, a domestic breed prized for its meat.

China is home to around 2.5 billion ducks bred through Cherry Valley Farm operators. It is the world's biggest duck market in both farming and consumption, accounting for around three-fifths of global production.

Cherry Valley Farms has operations in the UK, Germany and Shandong Province, China, as well as joint venture operations with duck producers to supply breeding stock for their own uses as well as sales in the regional open markets.

The company's German hatchery produces 2.5 million ducklings a year, and serves European customers in the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland and supplies large export markets including Russia.

It carries out its breeding research at its British facility, the World Centre of Pekin Duck Genetics.  

"Cherry Valley has made major investments in new genetics selection technology both in Europe and China and has further strengthened China primary selection operation," the company said in its statement.

It added: "With the support of Beijing Capital Agribusiness and CITIC, Cherry Valley will continue its investment in duck genetics including genomics selection to better service the duck industries of the world."

Beijing Capital Agribusiness employs 40,000 people and operates 64 group companies. It has interests in primary poultry breeding, livestock production and food processing.

CITIC Agriculture Fund was founded in 2016 by CITIC Agriculture, a division of CITIC, one of China's largest conglomerates.

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