French agri-food group Avril has said that it is in exclusive talks with meat group Bigard to sell its majority stakes in pork processing companies Abera and Porcgros.
Avril said in April it had decided to withdraw from the meat sector to focus acquisitions and investment in its core plant-based business, as well as take advantage of a surge in demand for alternatives to meat.
Created by French oilseed and protein crop growers, Avril is the European Union's largest biodiesel maker and a leader in animal nutrition, cooking oil and plant-based chemical products.
The group reported sales of €5.8 million ($6.8 million) in 2020 and announced plans to sell its eggs business, which had been suffering even before last year's slump when the pandemic destroyed catering demand.
Bigard is Europe's third largest meat processor with a turnover of €4.5 billion, according to its website.
Abera generated sales worth €256 million last year. Its two main activities include pig slaughtering and pork butchery. Porcgros is a pork wholesaler specialised in meat cutting and processing, based in the Rungis food market near Paris.
The sale of Abera and Porcgros is subject to consultation by employee representatives from the two companies and competition authorities' approval, Avril said.
In July 2020, Avril teamed up with Dutch nutrition company Royal DSM to start production of rapeseed (canola)-based protein for the food industry in 2022, as part of its strategy to benefit from the booming plant-protein market.