In 1974, Mohammed Chaouni Benabdallah and his son Fouad founded El Alf, one of Morocco’s first animal feed production plant, located in Fes, near Mount Zalagh.
At the end of the 1970s, they founded Couvnord, a hatchery for producing day-old chicks, in order to get closer to their feed customers and provide support for the development of El Alf. This was the first step in their plan for greater integration of poultry production activities.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the creation of Graderco allowed the Chaouni family to gain better control of the raw material supply necessary for the proper functioning of their animal feed plant. A decade later, Graderco was already an industry leader. The Zalar Holding Group was eventually created in order to consolidate the Chaouni family’s industrial activities.
At the end of the 2000s, the Group acquired the poultry slaughtering and meat processing companies Eldin and Banchereau Maroc and began to market their Dindy brand, thus completing the vertical integration process initiated by the company’s founders three decades earlier.
In 2009, the Zalar Holding Group merged with the Al Atlas Group to give rise to Atlas Zalar Holding or Atzal, bringing together all the different segments of the poultry sector in the regions of Fes and Casablanca.
In 2011, the Chaouni family acquired 100% of Atzal Holding Group shares, and the name of the company was changed back to Zalar Holding. This marked the start of a new direction with a renewed focus on strengthening integration and institutionalization.
THE STORY CONTINUES…
In November 2013, Zalar Holding welcomed the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank, into its pool of investors, while simultaneously launching a MAD350 million capex program. A number of objectives were associated to the IFC capital injection, including strengthening of the company’s financial structure and providing support to Zalar’s development plan in the context of increased domestic protein consumption. This partnership represents the IFC’s first direct participation in the Moroccan agribusiness industry.
One year later, in November 2014, Zalar undertook a public bond issuance of MAD350 million and a MAD125 million private placement from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). This transaction was successfully concluded, and is the first of its kind in the Moroccan poultry sector. The solidity of the Group’s foundations also received a vote of confidence from the international ratings agency Fitch Ratings, which gave Zalar a “B+” long-term rating with a “stable” outlook. Zalar is the first private Moroccan company to receive such a rating (with the exception of financial institutions).
In June 2015, “Seaboard” Corporation, an American industrial conglomerate specialized in the agribusiness sector as well as maritime transport and trading, joined Zalar Holding’s pool of investors. This partnership is part of the company’s strategy for domestic and international development, particularly in West Africa.
Later In 2015, with this approach in mind, the Group created Zalar Africa, a new subsidiary dedicated mainly to the development of activities in West Africa and the progressive expansion of its market share throughout the region.
The Group’s visual identity, which was defined by a logo showing a stylized representation of Mount Zalagh, has also been recast. The adoption of a new logo showing a stylized chicken with the colors of the Moroccan flag symbolizes the Group’s opening to international markets.
Following this dynamic, the Group founded Zalar Senegal in March 2016 as a subsidiary of Zalar Africa. Two years later, the Grands Moulins de Dakar (GMD) became a new shareholder of Zalar Senegal. Established in 1946 and acquired by Seaboard in 2018, the GMD covers 65% of the flour needs of the Senegalese market, and has also developed a comprehensive range of livestock feed. Combining Zalar poultry expertise as well as GMD’s historical reputation and market knowledge, this joint venture will enrich the Senegalese market with a more diversified offer for day-old chick and chicken broiler.
In June 2018, Zalar welcomed Mitsui & Co. as a new shareholder. The Japanese conglomerate is one of the largest general trading companies in Japan, and is part of the Mitsui Group, one of the largest corporate Groups in the world. The Group is indeed one of the largest Keiretsu in Japan, and is present in the sectors of infrastructure, energy, transport, financial services and agribusiness. Their contribution will support Zalar’s medium-term development plan, including augmenting grain storage capacities, increasing hatching and breeding capacity in Morocco, and the expansion of its poultry activity into Senegal.
For over 40 years, Zalar Holding has demonstrated its ability to deliver quality products and services, and confirmed its position as an industry leader.
Firmly forward-looking, we aim to use our expertise and commitment to excellence to sustain our growth and effectively respond to tomorrow’s challenges.