Thai agro giant CP Foods buys European food firm Paulsen

In an other example of the growing global reach of successful Thai corporations, Charoen Pokphand Foods purchased a 95 percent stake in Paulsen Foods GmbH of Germany, gaining Europe-wide food distribution channels and allowing it to export more of its chicken meat and other products to the European Union.

The main products CPF will distribute across Europe are chicken and duck, which form the core of CPF’s businesses. CPF’s parent company Charoen Pokphand Group is the largest chicken and poultry producer in Thailand and one of the largest in Asia. Its decades of success in chicken and poultry allowed it to expand into a range of other businesses.

The acquisition is the 12th company bought by Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) since last year. Starting in early 2016 and prior to purchasing Paulsen, CPF secured 11 overseas investment deals worth nearly $1.45 billion, including one with Bellisio Foods, one of America’s fastest-growing frozen food firms, in December for a price of US$1.08 billion.

Adirek Sripratak, CPF executive committee chairman, said recently his firm would actively seek out more merger and acquisition opportunities this year. The firm will focus on markets with large populations, in order to maximize business growth.

CPF is among a growing list of Thai firms expanding into the U.S. market through investments and acquisitions. Others include Thai Union, the world’s largest tuna company and owner of Chicken of the Sea brand, which last year bought the Red Lobster restaurant chain, Thai Summit, a sheet metal stamping company, which opened a factory in Michigan, and Pace Development which bought the Dean and DeLuca food chain.

Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) is the flagship company of Charoen Pokphand Group, an agro-industrial conglomerate that began as a seed shop in Bangkok’s Chinatown in the 1920s and is now a multinational corporation. It is a major producer of chicken meat, seafood and other commodities while also having holdings real estate, cable television and telecommunications. Chief Executive Officer Danai Chearavanont has been ranked Thailand’s richest man several times by Forbes magazine. In the 1970s, CP Group became the first foreign company licensed to operate in China since 1949.

CPF’s overseas operations and exports contributed 68 percent of the company’s sales revenue worth $13.6 billion in 2016, with the remaining 32 percent coming from operations in Thailand. International sales rose 12 percent last year to $84 billion, surpassing the company’s domestic growth, which increased 7 percent to $5.25 billion.