Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: Dutch food firm Vion says talks are continuing over sell off of UK operations

07:40 12 December 2012

A sign outside the Vion Factory in Little Wratting near Haverhill

A sign outside the Vion Factory in Little Wratting near Haverhill

A DUTCH-owned food company which is planning to sell up all its food operations in the UK, including a range of sites across East Anglia, says talks are continuing and it is “hopeful” that it will be able to announce an update in the next few days.

shares

But Vion UK, which bought up Grampian Country Food Group in 2008, employs nearly 2,000 staff across the region, mainly at plants in Eye, Witham and Haverhill, stressed that no deals had yet been signed.

“Talks are continuing and we’re hopeful of being able to issue an update on progress in the next few days but no deals have been signed for any of the sites at the moment,” a spokesman for the company said.

Vion UK, which has its head office in Livingston and employs 13,000 people at 38 sites in the UK, announced its sell-off decision on November 19. Its Eye poultry processing plant employs 449 staff, the Haverhill factory, where it runs a sliced cooked meats operation, has 330, and its Witham poultry processing plant, has 730 employees

It also has about 350 staff employed across its 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 also has feed mills at Stoke Ferry at King’s Lynn and at Chetisham, Ely.

The firm says it is confident that it will successfully sell its UK pork, red meat and poultry business units as ongoing viable businesses.

Peter Barr, chairman of VION UK said: “Working with our advisers Rabobank/Rothschild, we have already started detailed discussions with a number of interested parties, including management, regarding the acquisition of the various parts of the UK business and these are progressing well.

“The level of interest in the businesses has been strong and we hope to be in a position in the near future to give further details about the progress which has been made.

“The sale process will be completed in a smooth and orderly fashion to ensure business continuity for our employees, agricultural and other suppliers and our customers.”

Vion NV entered the UK in the late 1990s with the acquisition of Key Country Foods, followed by Tranfield and Grampian Country Food Group in 2008 and today employs 13,000 people at 38 sites in the UK.

It blamed poor market conditions in the European pork sector and the failure of its acquisition and growth strategy to deliver the financial performance it was hoping for its new course of action, including the UK sell-off. It said it had been forced to “take some difficult but necessary decisions”.

CEO and executive board chairman Dirk Kloosterboer said: “This is a particularly difficult day for everyone at VION. The decisions we have made have not been easy ones, but they are essential. We are returning Vion Food to its core pork and beef activities in the Netherlands and Germany, whilst Vion Ingredients will continue to develop globally.

“The divestments, of which our British food activities constitute by far the largest part, will be implemented carefully. These are steps in a challenging programme to get our food activities back to the desired returns, but I am fully confident that, with the hard work and support of all our people, we will once again ensure Vion’s strong position in our chosen markets.”

Vion supplies beef, lamb, pork and chicken products to a broad range of blue-chip customers across the food retailing, food manufacturing and food service sectors.

In October, the firm announced that it had entered into an agreement for the sale of US-based Banner Pharmacaps, a specialised manufacturer and developer of soft gel caps for the pharmaceutical industry, to Patheon Inc.

VION said is was now focused on a detailed process to sell its pork, red meat and poultry UK businesses.

“The interests of the employees, customers and suppliers in the UK are of the utmost importance and Vion is keen to provide clarity to all those involved as soon as possible,” it said.

shares

0 comments

The headquarters of Realise Futures in Ipswich.

Ipswich-based social enterprise Realise Futures has won a contract to provide supported employment services for adults with disabilities across a wide area of Essex.

Stage 5 of the Womens Tour passes through Onehouse on their way to Bury St Edmunds last year

Schoolchildren will also be involved in an evening of activities in Bury St Edmunds ahead of the start of a major women’s cycling event.

Paul Rous, of Bruisyard Hall, has launched a tech startup venture with Mark Pearson

A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.

Cloud telecoms company X-on has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Cloud telecoms company X-on, based at the Framlingham Technology Centre, has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Jeremy Goulding, front, left, chief executive of Wheatley, is congratulated by Innovatioin Martlesham chair Ian Buxton on winning the first Innovationi Martlesham competition. Also pictured, from left, are Paul O'Brien of BT, Jane Bromley of Wheatley, Mike Ward of Wheatley and Mohamed Abdel-Maguid from University Campus Suffolk.

Software company Wheatley has been named winner of a new competition staged by Innovation Martlesham, the cluster of hi-tech companies based at BT’s Adastral Park research site, near Ipswich.

Total unemployment in the UK has reached a near seven year low, official figures showed today.
Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Unemployment in the UK has continued to fall and a record 31million people are in now work, according to the final labour market figures before the General Election.

The Nestle Purina plant in Sudbury.

KitKat, Nescafe and Shredded Wheat maker Nestlé said today that first quarter sales had been boosted by an earlier Easter, but with growth dented by currency changes after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision to lift a cap on the franc.

The B&Q store on the North Quay Retail Park in Lowestoft which is closing in January 2016. Picture: James Bass

DIY chain B&Q has announced its Lowestoft store will close at the start of next year, with reportedly 40 jobs being lost.

Suffolk cider and vinegar maker Aspall was named Business of the Year at last year's EADT Business Awards.  From left, Tom McGarry of EDF Energy, Barry Chevallier Guild of Aspall and Sarah Howard,  of SuffolkChamber.  	
Picture: Lucy Taylor

There is now less than a week to go to enter the 2015 East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages