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UPDATE 1-Kerry Group to sell consumer foods meat and meals business to Pilgrim's Pride

(Adds CEO quotes, details on division being sold)

DUBLIN, June 17 (Reuters) - Irish food firm Kerry Group Plc said on Thursday it would sell its British and Irish Consumer Foods’ Meats and Meals business to U.S. poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp for 819 million euros ($975 million).

The division, whose brands include Richmond, Denny and Galtee, earned profit before tax of 63 million euros ($75 million) last year on revenue of 828 million euros ($986 million), Kerry said. Pilgrim’s Pride is one of the largest U.S. poultry producers.

“Kerry Group plc today announces that it has reached agreement to sell its Consumer Foods’ Meats and Meals business in the UK and Ireland to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation for a cash consideration of 819 million euros subject to routine closing adjustments,” the statement said.

The sale allows Kerry to focus more on its core ingredients solutions business, Kerry Chief Executive Edmond Scanlon said.

“This transaction further enhances Kerry’s focus as a leading business to business ingredient solutions provider for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets,” Scanlon said.

Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Fabio Sandri said the deal would allow it to position itself as a “leading prepared foods and branded products player.”

The division employs 4,500 people, the Kerry statement said. ($1 = 0.8402 euros) ($1 = 0.8399 euros) (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney)

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