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Investor group in 11th hour Cappoquin deal.

Beleaguered Irish poultry processor Cappoquin Chickens has been hauled out of liquidation in an 11th-hour buyout by an Anglo-Irish group of investors.

Cappoquin, which looked certain to close last month following the collapse of takeover talks, has been bought by a group comprising Perwiaz Latif and Zahid Hussain, the owners of English company Derby Poultry, together with brothers Paul and Michael O'Connor, members of the family that previously owned Cappoquin.

The company's existing financial controller Tony Vaughan is also understood to have taken a shareholding.

The investment by Latif and Hussain was private and Derby Poultry had no financial interest in it, said Latif.

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The Cappoquin business will maintain its existing Irish production, but will also focus on the export of chicken for the British halal market, a sector in which Latif and Hussain have considerable experience. Previously, Cappoquin only exported surplus to the UK.

Irish workers' union SIPTU is understood to have held discussions with Cappoquin and company workers this week during which a deal was agreed.

According to a spokesman for the O'Connor family, the meetings resulted in 75% of Cappoquin production staff being retained.

The news comes three weeks after Aidan O'Connell, the liquidator at Deloitte & Touche who was appointed to handle Cappoquin's business affairs, announced he would have no option but to close the 50-year-old plant, with the loss of 200 jobs.

Meanwhile, another Irish meat processor, Dawn Meats Group, said it planned to close its Sandyford Foods site in Ayrshire, Scotland. It is currently consulting with workers' union Unite following its request to keep the facility open.

Meetings would continue throughout the month, said the company. Dawn Meats amalgamated two of its West Ireland sites this year.
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Title Annotation:news: FRESH FOOD; Anglo Irish Bank PLC acquired Cappoquin Chickens
Author:Ford, Richard; Garvey, Anthony
Publication:Grocer
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Oct 11, 2008
Words:284
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