Tyson agrees to deal with halal producer

The exterior of Tyson Foods Inc. headquarters in Springdale.

Tyson Foods plans to work with a Malaysian food company in a bid to enter the halal food market.

The Springdale company agreed to buy a 49% ownership stake in the poultry division of Malayan Flour Mills Berhad, which owns feed mills, hatcheries, farms and processing plants in Malaysia.

The deal is subject to regulatory and board member approval. Financial specifics were not disclosed in a news release on Wednesday.

Chris Langholz, Tyson's president of international operations, said in a written statement that the "partnership will add more supply flexibility for both companies in serving halal-certified poultry" to customers in Malaysia and key export markets.

Most people in Malaysia practice Islam and follow laws that prevent them from eating foods that are not considered lawful, or halal, requiring processors to certify their products for consumption.

The country's halal industry is expected to reach $147.4 billion in the next four years, according to the Halal Industry Development Corp. Malaysia exports about $9 billion in halal-certified products.

Tyson's Malaysia business includes a processing plant and an innovation center.