MOY PARK posted revenues close to £1.6bn in its last financial year, to 29 December, up 4% when compared with the year before.

And pre-tax profits were also up some 13%, from £43.9m to £49.7m last year.

It makes Moy Park not only Northern Ireland’s largest private employer but also its biggest company by turnover.

This report is the first set of full-year results released following Pilgrim’s Pride buying the business in September 2017. The directors’ report said the acquisition offered “great opportunities to the company”.

Employee numbers at the group exceeded 10,000, up from 9,800 the year before, across nine European processing facilities. About 6,000 staff work in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year it announced the temporary closure of its Ballymena processing plant, citing challenging market conditions. Farmers subsequently had to cut back on crop numbers for the rest of the year, with Moy saying it would reopen the site in January.

Moy Park processes about six million fresh chickens in the UK each week.