The Remarkable Growth of OSI Group and the Man Who Made it Possible

The last 16 years have been a period of remarkable growth for food processing and restaurant supply company OSI Group. In 1992 OSI opened its first plant in Bejing China. Ten years later in the Shandong Province, the company opened OSI Weihai Poultry a feed mill capable of turning out 1.2 billion pounds of feed yearly. Weihai now breeds, raises, and processes chickens and has received a 3 Star Chicken Production Award.

The acquisition of the Chinese Poultry company Doyoo Group made OSI one of the largest purveyors of poultry in China. In India OSI’s Vista Processed Foods produces frozen vegetables for stores and restaurants. The Philippines based, GenOSI produces over 50 million pounds of chicken, beef, and fish for distribution to restaurants.

In 2012 OSI Group built a beef processing plant in Poland. That same year the company began processing chickens in Hungary. In the last year alone OSI has expanded into Germany by entering into a partnership with the Edeka supermarket chain and the Netherlands with the purchase of controlling interest in Baho Foods. In 2016 the British condiment producer Flagship Europe was brought into the OSI family.

In the US OSI paid $7.4 million for a closed Tyson Chicken plant. By purchasing the 200,000 square foot facility OSI saved 300 jobs in the Chicago area.

The man responsible for this impressive growth spurt is OSI Group CEO, Sheldon Lavin. A former investment banker, Sheldon Lavin was partnered with Arthur and Harry Kolschowsky the sons of OSI’s founder Otto Kolschowsky when he first joined the company. Ultimately, one brother sold his shares in the company and the other retired placing Lavin solely in charge.

Deciding that if he didn’t expand the company there was no point in his staying with OSI Sheldon Lavin embarked on a series of carefully planned acquisitions. Thanks to Lavin’s vision and drive Otto and Sons Inc. that had a few plants in the US when he came onboard now consists of 65 facilities in 17 countries. The OSI Group employee roster contains 200,000 names. An octogenarian Sheldon Lavin is not done growing OSI.

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