Family-owned Inghams sold to global private equity giant

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th March 2013

Global private-equity firm TPG has bought Australia’s largest poultry producer, Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd. for about $850 million. TPG outbid rivals including Blackstone, Affinity and Chinese agribusiness company New Hope.

Inghams, which also operates in New Zealand, was founded in 1918 in bushland in Sydney’s South-west by Walter Ingham, who bought six hens and a rooster for his son. Ingham’s son, also called Walter, grew the business, and it passed to his sons, Jack and Bob, when he died in the 1950s. Jack Ingham died in 2003, and Bob continued to run the business until July 2012, when he put the company up for sale.

TPG will retain Inghams’ existing management. “An important part of the decision for me was finding a buyer who would ensure that our customers will continue to receive the highest level of service and our employees would be well looked after. I believe I found that in TPG,” Mr Ingham said in a statement.

Inghams Enterprises is Australia’s largest poultry producer, with sales of over AU$2 billion in 2012. According to Retail Media’s 2012 ‘Retail World’, Inghams has 45.1 per cent share by value and 48.3 per cent share by volume of Australia’s $150.4 million poultry smallgoods market.

TPG is a global investor based in New York with several well-known Australian business investments. TPG, which has $54.5 billion capital under management, attracted considerable publicity with its structured acquisition of the Myer retail group several years ago.

Other major Australian investments include the private healthcare and hospital group HealthScope, transport infrastructure company Asciano (owner of Patrick Ports and Pacific National Rail), Mammoth Pet (Australia’s largest pet specific retailer, under the Petbarn banner), and Alinta Energy.

TPG is also the owner of the global US-based Burger King chain, Beringer Wine, and the European-based Strauss-Elite coffee group.