Bigard is Europe's third largest meat processor with a turnover of €4.5bn (US$5.2bn).
The deal is subject to consultation with employee representative bodies and also needs the seal of approval from competition authorities, said Avril.
It announced its goal, earlier this year, to become a leader in plant-based solutions for the food, agriculture, and environmental sectors, leveraging the growing demand for plant-based meat alternatives, while continuing to meet demand for feed, through its Sanders arm, along with nutritional specialties in farmed animal production.
In realizing those ambitions, the agribusiness group wants to divest both its pork and egg operations.
The plans to sell its egg activities, Matines and Ovoteam, also announced in April, remain in place. That divestment process is independent of the pork processing units sale, a spokesperson for Avril told FeedNavigator today.
"We are taking the time that is necessary to find partners capable of supporting the development of these activities."
Already offloaded is Avril’s specialist biosecurity division, Theseo. It was sold to Lanxess, in a move confirmed on April 1, 2021.
The group is now looking to acquisitions in animal nutrition and farmer services, along with building assets linked to its other sectors identified as having significant potential: specialty ingredients, consumer brands, and renewable energy.
Plant-based protein segment
Jean-Philippe Puig, CEO of Avril, told this site in April that the market for plant-based protein for human consumption is growing by 14% per year. “It will continue to increase.”
Last year saw Avril form a joint venture with DSM to produce protein from rapeseed to serve the plant-based meat substitutes segment. That facility is based in Dieppe in northern France. Puig said it will be on stream at the end of this year.
“We want to [encourage greater uptake of] rapeseed and, eventually, sunflower based protein products, as, today, plant-based meat alternatives are mainly based on soy.”
Avril’s financial arm also invested in Austria's Vegini last year, a company that makes plant derived meat-like products and in Soufflet Alimentaire, a French group specializing in functional flours made from rice and naturally gluten-free pulses.