French poultry firm set to sign Saudi deal
Paris, November 9, 2013
Troubled French poultry group Doux is close to signing a rescue deal whereby its main client, Saudi food distributor Almunajem, will take a minority stake, a moment of rare good news for a French meat industry shaken by plant closures.
"Discussions are well on track," a Doux spokesman said yesterday.
The deal, which is due to be signed in the next few days, would see D&P, a family-owned investment firm led by Didier Calmels, take 52.5 per cent of Doux, with Almunajem and the Doux family taking the rest.
The northwestern region of Brittany, the heartland of France's pork and poultry businesses, has endured a series of plant closures since Doux went into court administration in 2012 in the face of mounting debts. The poultry group laid off about 1,000 workers last year but still employs 2,400 people.
Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said French public investment bank BPI could help raise up to 10 million euros ($13 million) a year to allow Doux to invest and modernise.
"There is a shareholders' agreement about to be put together between the buyer, the Calmels family, the historical owner the Doux family, and the Saudi Almunajem, which is a manufacturer but has also been working with Doux for 40 years in the Middle East market," he said.-Reuters