Chinese agrichemical business New Hope is at the forefront of a list of bidders rumoured to be circling a £1 billion takeover of Northern Irish poultry manufacturer Moy Park, according to the national media.

Industry sources cited by The Daily Telegraph have claimed that New Hope is the “frontrunner” to acquire Moy Park, which was put up for sale by Brazilian owner JBS, following the latter’s involvement in a political corruption scandal.

The newspaper writes that bankers close to the process predicted that a deal was unlikely to be overturned by the Chinese Government, which has recently announced it would clamp down on “irrational” overseas takeovers.

According to The Telegraph, New Hope could prove there was “industrial logic” behind the Moy Park deal, arguing it could boost the country’s goal towards agricultural self-sufficiency.

New Hope was founded by its current chairman, Liu Yonghao, in 1982 and has since then grown to become one of the largest non-Governmental conglomerates in China, with nearly 70,000 employees across 30 countries.

Yonghao started the company by investing in breeding quails and chickens to sell on to other farmers.

Food Management Today has contacted New Hope for comment.