Halesworth/Stowmarket: Takeover talk quashed by Bernard Matthews

Bernard Matthews executive chairman David Joll at Great Witchingham.

Bernard Matthews executive chairman David Joll at Great Witchingham.

Turkey giant Bernard Matthews said it is not looking to sell the business as part of a drive to attract fresh investment.

The firm, which has a large factory near Halesworth, has dashed speculation linking it to Birmingham-based poultry provider 2 Sisters Food Group amid reports it may become subject of a takeover.

A spokesman at the 2 Sisters Food Group refused to comment on the rumours, but it is believed managing director Ranjit Boparan is plotting a swoop for the East Anglian firm.

It comes during a turbulent few months for Bernard Matthews, which has slashed jobs from its cooked meats division and witnessed the departure of three senior managers.

Chief executive Noel Bartram left the firm due to health concerns, following chairman David McCall and UK managing director Rob Mears out of the door.

Since then, it has stripped away 55 staff from its Great Witchingham base, blaming the “intense pressure” from supermarket competition and soaring feed prices.

David Joll has been parachuted back into the company as executive director to bring fresh investment into the firm, which will pay for infrastructure developments.

Most Read

Yesterday, a spokesman at Bernard Matthews reiterated that it was “exploring a range of options with PWC to accelerate the company’s existing growth strategy and infrastructure developments.”

He added: “All the options will only be evaluated once the process is completed. Bernard Matthews has weathered the difficult retail environment in a sound position and has the full support of its shareholders and financial advisors.”

The firm, which employs 2,100 staff and made £2m profits on sales of £341m last year, previously stated that it is an efficiently-run business, which had been hit by multi-million-pound feed costs.

The 2 Sisters Food Group, which also has a base at Haughley Park, near Stowmarket, employs about 7,000 people and recorded a £2.3bn turnover last year. It aims to hit the £3bn mark by 2015.