Charoen Pokphand Group (C.P Group), a diversified conglomerate specialized in agriculture and food products with a strong global presence last week gained foothold in Sri Lanka through the purchase of 80 percent stake in Norfolk Foods Private Limited in a deal worth US $ 4.0 million or Rs.600 million. The Th a i land headquar t e r ed conglomerate bought a 50 percent stake of Norfolk from Sri Lanka’s Expolanka Holdings PLC for US $ 2.5 million. According to foreign media reports, Charon Pokphand Foods (CPF), a listed arm of the group headquartered in Thailand, was said to be buying another 30 percent from Habeeb Mohamed Ziauddin and Hamzathul Zareeha Ziauddin – the founders of Norfolk Foods. The firm also has a call option to buy the balance 20 percent stake.
Norfolk Foods was incorporated in 1994 and manufactured ready-to-eat food items such as samosa, processed chicken and meat stuffed with cheese and sausages. The transaction will allow CPF to enter the food business in Sri Lanka and expand its production base for the nearby countries as the group already has extensive presence in about 16 countries, mainly in ASEAN and elsewhere. According to C.P. Group’s corporate website they have been, “expanding its range of knowledge and expertise, prominently in the area of Agro-industry and food that gained worldwide acceptance on its advancement and success in creating Thailand’s food security”. As a result, the C.P. Group has been invited by governments in the Asian region including Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia to invest and to provide assistance in setting agricultural strategies and transferring knowledge to their farmers. Meanwhile, the Norfolk Foods sale is a part of Expolanka’s group-wide restructuring exercise exiting all types of non-related business ventures that the group had got into in the past. Expolanka, predominantly a freight and logistics company, has been divesting at least 10 business units during the last three years which were into food processing, education, tea, spices and pharmaceuticals to concentrate and build on their core-competence in logistics.
“This divestment is in continuation of our strategy to position Expolanka as a focused Sri Lankan multinational, with a dominant South Asian footprint. This divestment will enable us to concentrate even more on our core businesses and free up capital for future growth,” Shantanu Nagpal, Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development at Expolanka said in a statement after the deal