In April 2005 we realised our investment in Aviagen, the world's leading poultry science company.
When we acquired the company in May 2003, Aviagen was the market leader in the breeding and development of pedigree lines for the production of broiler chickens and turkeys. Jointly based in the UK and US, the company employed some 1300 people, with a distribution network serving 250 customers in 85 countries. Strongly committed to excellence, Aviagen had successfully established a reputation for industry-leading standards of breeding stock development, animal welfare and husbandry practices and customer service.
Our strategy was to build on Aviagen’s existing market position by focusing on three key areas: improving financial results and commercial responsiveness through the downstream integration of distributors; improving market share in the US, Aviagen’s largest source of sales and strengthening the company’s operating base for breeding turkeys.
Within less than two years our objectives had been achieved, with the company’s turnover increasing by 25% in the period from 2002 to 2004. Three highly accretive distributor acquisitions in Western Europe, CEE and the US, increased market share in key territories and expanded Aviagen’s turkey operations, while US market share was significantly improved through the introduction of new and enhanced products.
Aviagen’s merger with The Erich Wesjohann Group – the world leader in egg layer genetics – represented a highly strategic fit, marrying two complementary businesses to create a strongly diversified life science group for poultry applications.