Ukrainian Omron about to buy US processor Townsends
Omtron, owned by Ukrainian businessman Oleg Bakhmatyuk is poised to buy the assets of chicken processor Townsends in North Carolina, USA, in a $24.9 million deal.
Townsends, which employs roughly 1,200 people and has contracts with hundreds of poultry farmers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December.
After more than 100 years in business, the Delaware-based company was felled by rising grain costs and the declining price of chicken. Last week, a bankruptcy judged approved the sale of Townsends’ Delaware headquarters and its North Carolina operations to Omtron.
Omtron is a U.S. shell corporation created by Oleg Bakhmatyuk, a Ukrainian businessman who owns food, transportation, real estate and financial companies. Bakhmatyuk is also the largest shareholder in Agroholding Avangard, Ukraine’s leading egg producer. Omtron will retain the Townsends name and doesn’t expect to lay off any employees according to the Towsends management. All the contracts with the growers will probably be upheld.
For Townsends, the Omtron deal provides an infusion of capital and the potential to expand into new markets.
The deal is unique in that Bakhmatyuk will now own both a chicken processing operation in North Carolina and grain supplies in Ukraine.
How exactly Townsends will be integrated into Bakhmatyuk’s other operations remains to be seen. The cost of shipping grain from Ukraine to the United States would seem to be prohibitive unless somehow it was purchased below the price being paid on the world market.