Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  24 Oct 2010

VENTURES: Astral Pecking In W Cape


Recent Western Cape Business News

POULTRY giant Astral Foods has made its second significant acquisition in the Western Cape with the purchase of Paarl-based Vredebest Farms for R23 million.

In May, CBN reported that Astral has spent around R70 million to open a major baking plant in Bellville.

Astral’s poultry division MD Theo Delport says Vredebest comprises three separate farms with poultry houses, dwellings and a broiler hatchery.

These farms are ideally situated to be incorporated in the County Fair integrated operations in the Western Cape.”

He says due to the ideal proximity of the operation there are many viable options to be explored for either breeder or broiler facilities. The deal also makes a whole lot of sense since Astral’s Country Fair is Vredebest’s largest customer – buying between 90 000 to 100 000 chicks a week.

The three farms in the purchase are Anysrug, Hillcroft and Vrymansfontein.

The hatchery on the Anysrug farm has the capacity to produce 300 000 hatching eggs per week.

It also looks like Astral has some expansion plans up its sleeve at Vredebest.

Astral CFO Daan Ferreira confirms the Vredebest acquisition is seen as a strategic investment due to its proximity to County Fair. “It will accommodate future expansion”.

The expansion could be intriguing in lieu of the recent investment in the Bellville bakery to supply buns to McDonalds and KFC.

As previously noted in CBN, Astral does not supply chicken to either McDonalds or KFC.

But should either fast food specialist need to put Astral chicken on its buns, then Vredebest’s capacity will prove very handy.

Perhaps it’s too much of a stretch to be pondering such matters, but CBN does wonder whether Astral would not be taking a gander at Pioneer Food’s poultry operations housed under the Tydstroom banner.

At the time of going to press, there were rumours swirling of a hefty fine for Pioneer in the bread price fixing scandal. Perhaps letting go of the flocks would help fund some of the fine?


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