VION to sell UK pork division

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands – VION NV has agreed to a management buy-out of the company’s pork operations in the United Kingdom. The deal is subject to approval of the Competition Authority in Ireland.

UK private-equity firm Endless is backing the deal. Seamus Carr, currently managing director of VION’s Pork Business Unit, helped broker the deal. Carr will be managing director of the new company. VION announced plans in November to sell its UK food operations and focus on its core food businesses in the Netherlands and Germany and its global ingredients business.

VION’s UK pork facilities are located in Wiveliscombe, Malton, Haverhill, Scunthorpe, Hull, Stoke and Enfield in England; at Cookstown in Northern Ireland; and the pig farming and feed mill operation in Scotland at Brydock, Aberdeenshire. In addition, VION operates the McGees butchers business in the Republic of Ireland.

“VION’s decision to sell its UK business naturally caused a degree of uncertainty amongst staff, suppliers and customers,” Carr said. “Therefore, I’m very pleased that we have quickly been able to agree to a deal for the pork business, which secures the future for our staff, our suppliers and gives our customers a seamless transition. Our ambitions for the new business are firstly to maintain the excellent levels of service and product quality, which have helped us secure orders from all the major supermarkets, and then to build upon the opportunities in the marketplace to grow the business.”

Peter Barr, chairman of VION UK, applauded the move, saying the deal was a positive sign for ongoing discussion with prospective buyers of VION's remaining UK businesses.

“We will now be focusing our attentions on securing the sales of our remaining poultry and red-meat operations in the UK, which employ around 8,000 people,” Barr said. “Both businesses remain profitable and cash-generative and are generating significant interest from prospective purchasers.”

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