June 20 2013 Latest news:
Monday, March 4, 2013
Dutch-owned Vion, which has poultry operations in Eye, Witham and Basildon, as well as plants in Scotland and Wales, announced plans in November to exit the UK and sell its businesses here.
Vion UK, which has its head office in Livingston, Scotland, bought up the Grampian Country Food Group in 2008, and employed nearly 2,000 staff across the region, mainly at plants in Eye, Witham and Haverhill.
Its Eye poultry processing plant employs 449 staff, and its Witham poultry processing plant has 730 employees.
It also has about 350 staff employed across agricultural operations at Occold, near Eye, and Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, where it has chicken hatcheries, and at other small agricultural activities in the area.
It has now sold its UK poultry and red meat operations to Boparan Holdings Limited (BHL), the holding company for 2 Sisters Food Group.
The acquisition secures a viable future for these businesses, as well as providing certainty to their UK supply chain, which is underpinned by British farmers, 2 Sisters said.
It will help to meet growing demand from 2 Sisters’ poultry customers and further diversifies the company’s offering to include red meat, supporting its strategy of serving more meal occasions, it added.
2 Sisters is a British based £2.3billion turnover food manufacturer, supplying branded and own brand products to major retailers across the bakery, chilled, poultry and frozen categories. Its brands include Fox’s Biscuits and Goodfella’s Pizza and it employs more than 18,000 staff.
Vion reached an agreement for a management buy-out of its UK pork operations in December, securing around 4,000 jobs, including 330 at Haverhill, subject to Competition Authority approval in Ireland.
The sale deal, which included its Haverhill sliced meats operation, was led by Seamus Carr, managing director of its Pork Business Unit, and was backed by UK private equity firm Endless, an investor in UK companies across a wide range of sectors.
Vion’s poultry and red meat businesses supply poultry, beef and lamb to the retail and food service sectors in the UK and Europe.
It has 11 processing sites in the UK and approximately 6,000 employees, but suffered from challenging trading conditions, in particular in poultry, with the loss of a number of major contracts.
Ranjit Singh, chief executive of 2 Sisters Food Group, said: “We are delighted to be acquiring Vion UK’s poultry and red meat businesses. They have faced significant uncertainty and tough trading in recent months, but today’s acquisition secures a viable future. With the majority of the operations being in Scotland and Wales, we are delighted that the Scottish and Welsh governments are supportive of this deal and we look forward to working with them and developing a sustainable future for these businesses.
“This acquisition will safeguard a key supply chain for high quality British poultry and meat, offering reassurance to farmers in England, Scotland and Wales and upholding the quality and provenance that UK customers and consumers deserve.
“At 2 Sisters, we put the customer at the heart of everything we do and in line with our customers’ strategies, these businesses will help us to shorten the supply chain for consumers and meet growing demand for British sourced food.
“Our immediate focus will be to improve performance, as we have successfully done with our previous acquisitions. We look forward to welcoming Vion colleagues to 2 Sisters Food Group, and to working together to grow our business.”
Businesses can breath a sigh of relief at the news that dredging operations at Wells will resume today after being suspended for more than two months over a licensing issue.