More than 1,000 Norfolk jobs at risk as Banham Poultry put up for sale
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One of Norfolk's biggest employers is reportedly on the brink of administration, putting the jobs of more than 1,000 workers at risk, according to an MP.
Banham Poultry was close to appointing administrators from Ernst and Young on Tuesday afternoon, according to a tweet from Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman.
The company is the largest employer in Breckland, employing around 1,000 workers directly and responsible for a further 2,000 in the supply chain.
Mr Freeman tweeted on Tuesday evening: 'Just heard that Mid Norfolk's biggest employer Banham Poultry has gone into administration by Ernst & Young @EYnews risking massive animal welfare emergency & redundancies.'
He later corrected the tweet to say: 'Correction. I understand not in administration but Lloyd's bank pushing in that direction if a buyer cannot be secured. At least two bids on the table: one would see Banham remain in Attleborough, the other not.'
Banham Poultry chief executive Martyn Bromley said the company was not in administration, but confirmed it was seeking a buyer.
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Mr Freeman said he had been in discussions with senior management at the company.
He said the potential loss of the company would have 'huge implications for the Attleborough area'.
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'I'm working with the company and local and central government to try to find a sensible solution to preserve jobs and the welfare of the poultry on the Banham sites,' he said.
'All of our efforts are aimed at preserving the jobs of all of those who work in this old Norfolk family business.'
He urged company bosses and advisers to do all they could to protect the company and its employees.
At the Norfolk Farming Conference in February, the company said it had gone past the milestone of processing one million chickens a week, and was on track to turn over £130m in the financial year.
Banham Poultry is a long-established Norfolk family business which can trace its history back more than 40 years.
The company produces its own chicks, hatches chicks and then rears chickens all the way through to slaughter.
Many of the company's employees are also long-standing, with many having worked there for decades.
The company supplies chickens to major supermarkets and other stores and wholesalers through the UK.