Bernard Matthews £24.5m biomass deal to create 51 jobs

Bernard Matthews will install biomass boilers across 21 turkey farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire. Bernard Matthews will install biomass boilers across 21 turkey farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.

Friday, March 14, 2014
12:34 PM

Poultry giant Bernard Matthews aims to remove its energy costs in two years after securing a £24.5m biomass boiler deal.

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Bernard Matthews Executive Chairman David Joll, pictured at the Great Witchingham Hall headquarters. Photo: Steve AdamsBernard Matthews Executive Chairman David Joll, pictured at the Great Witchingham Hall headquarters. Photo: Steve Adams

The Great Witchingham-based firm is to undertake the UK’s largest biomass roll out when it installs 179 boilers across 21 turkey farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.

The project – funded by the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) and delivered by renewable energy company Lumicity – will create 51 jobs during construction and nine engineering roles once complete.

David Joll, interim executive chairman at Bernard Matthews, said the investment will help the firm become energy self-sufficient by 2016.

Bernard Matthews  Great Witchingham Hall headquarters. Photo: Steve AdamsBernard Matthews Great Witchingham Hall headquarters. Photo: Steve Adams

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It comes after the business took significant steps to overhaul its performance by selling a substantial stake in the company in exchange for £23.5m worth of investment from turnaround specialists Rutland Partners.

Bernard Matthews blamed a £20.3m loss last year on high feed costs and demand from supermarkets to drive down prices.

“Sustainability is central to our long term business strategy,” said Mr Joll.

“We’re already generating a large proportion of our energy needs from other renewable sources including solar and wind and with the addition of biomass boilers on our farms, we’re well placed to be generating 100 per cent of our energy sustainably by 2016.”

Lumicity, whose engineers will service the boilers once built, has secured funding for the project from GIB using its Energy Saving Investments (ESI) fund, which is investing £12m alongside an additional £12.5m private sector capital from the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF).

Vince Cable, business secretary, said: “We set up the UK Green Investment Bank to kick start investment in renewable energy technology like this. Bernard Matthews has seen that energy efficiency makes good business sense and I am confident that more companies will follow.

“The investment will have a significant green impact by reducing carbon emissions and benefits local economies by creating green jobs across three counties.”

According to the Bernard Matthews accounts ending June 30 2013, total sales edged higher to £346.4m from £341.4m, but the group recorded an £11.7m operating loss compared to a £5.3m operating profit in 2012. Meanwhile, staff numbers at the group fell by 423 over the same period. • Do you have a business story for the Eastern Daily Press? Contact business writer Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or e.mail ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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