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Poultry giant Ingham's to go public

AAP logoAAP 12/10/2016 Petrina Berry

Australia's largest chicken company Ingham's Group is set to list on the share market with a value of up to $1.5 billion.

The chicken and turkey breeder's owner, private equity firm TPG, which bought the business from the Ingham family for $880 million in 2013, plans to sell between 50 to 70 per cent of its stake in a public offer.

The 98-year-old company has 225 farms as well as its own hatcheries and processing plants in Australia and New Zealand, and expects its revenue to hit $2.4 billion in 2016/17.

With its shares expected to sell for between $3.57 and $4.14, Inghman's could raise up to $1.1 billion from its share market float, which is being conducted to increase the company's access to capital markets and for TPG to realise its investment in the company.

Ingham's expects to list on the market in November, in what could be the biggest float of 2016.

"Chicken is the most consumed animal protein in the developed world, and in 2015 represented 35 per cent and 37 per cent of animal protein consumption in Australia and New Zealand, respectively," the company says in its prospectus.

An increased awareness of animal welfare and health has supported growth in sales of higher priced poultry, it said.

Ingham's has an estimated 40 per cent of the Australian poultry market, and supplies the major supermarkets, butchers and fast food chains including KFC.

Its major rival is Baiada Poultry, the privately owned company behind the Steggles brand.

The prospectus identifies a significant food safety event or an outbreak of avian influenza as its key risks, as well as changes to import regulations.

"If Ingham's or a competitor's products were to become unsafe or were perceived to be unsafe for any reason, this could result in reduced demand for Ingham's products," the company said.

Ingham's was founded by Walter Ingham in Liverpool, Sydney in 1918, and his sons Jack and Bob Ingham began building the business into a poultry empire in the 1960s, before selling to TPG.

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