Pembrokeshire-based Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd is planning to double its number of Welsh farmer growers after being acquired by France’s leading poultry supply company.

The LDC Group announced it had bought a majority stake in the company which Justin Scale established on the family farm in Walwyn’s Castle 20 years ago.

Mr Scale, who grew the business to one that supplies 7 per cent of the UK’s free range and organic poultry market, retains a minority shareholding, alongside Capestone’s chief executive, Rob Cumine.

The deal is good news for the local economy with Capestone set to double the number of free range chickens it grows working with local farmers with the support of LDC.

Mr Scale said the decision to sell the majority shareholding for an undisclosed sum was the right one for the long term future of the business.

He will not step back from the business entirely. “I’ll still be involved, although I am looking forward to not having to deal with the day to day challenges that go hand in hand with running a business!’’

Capestone is now aiming to increase production to 120,000 birds a week, with contracted farmers playing a major part in its expansion plans.

There are already 15 farmers in Wales growing poultry for Capestone.

Mr Cumine said the acquisition by LDC was good news for the local economy.

“We will continue to expand and we’re keen to hear from farmers who want to get involved in free range or organic poultry production,’’ he said.

“We’re confident that the business will continue to grow under the new ownership, offering career opportunities for many more people in Pembrokeshire.’’

The acquisition by LDC is the French company’s first UK investment.

“The LDC investment is huge acknowledgement of the hard work and skills of the Capestone team,’’ said Mr Cumine.

“A major international food processing business has chosen us as their first UK investment.’’

Demand from UK retailers for domestically-produced organic and free-range poultry has grown strongly after Brexit.

As well as having a strong presence in the retail market, including sales of Christmas turkeys, Capestone also supplies the baby food market.

In 2020, the company achieved sales of approximately £28m.