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Bernard Matthews confirms it is bidding to buy Banham Poultry

PUBLISHED: 11:27 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:06 09 October 2018

The Banham Poultry factory in Attleborough. Picture: Simon Parkin.

The Banham Poultry factory in Attleborough. Picture: Simon Parkin.

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Veteran Norfolk chicken producer Bernard Matthews has unveiled itself as one party bidding to buy Banham Poultry.

Banham Poultry in Station Road, Attleborough. Picture: Google StreetViewBanham Poultry in Station Road, Attleborough. Picture: Google StreetView

It was revealed on Wednesday that Banham Poultry had put itself up for sale after a summer of heavy financial pressures.

Bernard Matthews, which was bought by the owner of supermarket chicken giant 2 Sisters Food Group in 2016, said its offer would immediately secure the jobs of Banham’s 160 agricultural staff, and that efforts would be made to redeploy the company’s 850 other workers at its three factories in Norfolk and Suffolk and across four other sites in the counties run by 2 Sisters.

But it has suggested that Banham’s factory in Attleborough – where it has been based for almost 60 years – could close as part of the deal.

READ MORE: Banham Poultry boss wants to ‘avoid’ move out of Norfolk

A spokesman for Bernard Matthews said that “given the fragile nature of the business” there was an “urgency” to get a sale agreed.

Banham Poultry at Attleborough. Police are still investigating the deaths of two sub-contractors at the site. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBanham Poultry at Attleborough. Police are still investigating the deaths of two sub-contractors at the site. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The value of the bid – believed to be the higher of the two offers on the table – was not disclosed.

The spokesman said: “They [Bernard Matthews] would work very closely with the company to make sure people would be offered redeployment opportunities.

“The group of companies has the bandwith to accommodate all the workers from Banham Poultry.

“There is an urgency still because of the state of Banham and the welfare of the birds.”

Banham Poultry’s troubles were compounded by the discovery of the bodies of two pest control workers at its Attleborough factory in the early hours of Thursday. As part of the inquiry into their deaths police are investigating a suspected gas leak from a refrigeration unit.

Bernard Matthews said that if its bid was successful a “root and branch” review of the Attleborough factory would take place – which may involve its closure.

READ MORE: Farmers’ agent said losing Banham Poultry would be a ‘disaster’ for East Anglia

The police investigation is continuing into the deaths of the two sub-contractors at the factory as discussions over the future of Banham Poultry continue a-pace.

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