Banham Poultry boss confirms company is up for sale – but wants to avoid move out of Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 22:22 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:07 09 October 2018
Crucial talks to secure the future of one of Norfolk’s biggest employers begin on Wednesday morning, as doubts hang over the jobs of 1,000 workers.
Banham Poultry is looking for a buyer following a difficult summer when feed prices rose, trade slowed and the company invested in new processing machinery at its Attleborough base.
Chief executive Martyn Bromley said the company had received two offers from potential buyers – but warned that only one would keep jobs in Norfolk and maintain the company’s 50-year heritage.
Rumours of the company’s financial difficulties began to circulate on Tuesday evening, with Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman tweeting that the company could face administration if a buyer could not be found.
He will meet with Banham Poultry bosses and council and business leaders on Wednesday to find out what public-sector support can be offered to the struggling firm.
Mr Bromley said the company is not in administration and he was determined to ensure its 1,000 jobs, and as many again in the supply chain, were protected.
“When I look those employees in the eye, I know that they are looking at me to save their souls,” he said.
“Despite the rumours there’s a big fight going on by suppliers, employees, management and local government to get the right deal for continuity.”
Mr Bromley said the company’s sale strategy had been backed by its bank, which will be a key voice in the decision-making process after providing finance for the investment in new machinery.
“The bank don’t want our situation to fail. We are telling our suppliers to keep supplying and our workers to keep coming to work - we are doing our best to look after you.”
Mr Freeman said the potential loss of the company would have “huge implications” for the area, and said he had lobbied business secretary Greg Clark and environment minister Michael Gove for their support.
“All of our efforts are aimed at preserving the jobs of all of those who work in this old Norfolk family business,” he added.
Breckland Council leader William Nunn said the authority would do “all it can to assist the organisation and its staff”.
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said it would be working to “secure the best possible outcome” for the business.