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News 760 views last update:Feb 22, 2008

Scottish pork producer on verge of sale

Scottish pork, chicken and beef producer Grampian Food Country Group is on the verge of passing into foreign hands, with at least three firms preparing bids for control of the group.

The company is the biggest supplier of meat and poultry to the UK's supermarkets and was forced into a sale amid mounting levels of debt. It recorded a strong loss in the financial year 2005-2006 and was forced to close six factories.

Dutch meat producer Vion and global pork and poultry-producing giant Sadia, of Brazil, are vying with CCMP, the American private equity firm, for control of Grampian.

Spokesperson for Vion, Marc van der Lee confirmed that "it is well-known that Vion is planning on expanding in the UK, which is a very important market for us".

Grampian employs around 25,000 people and is the largest private employer in Scotland. It processes weekly around 5,300 tonnes of pork, 7,250 tonnes of chicken, 1,900 tonnes of beef and 700 tonnes of lamb, which makes it an interesting acquisition for Vion to increase its UK market share.

A sum of £400m (€540m) is expected to be involved in the transaction.

Grampian, owned by its 64-year-old millionaire founder Fred Duncan, is seen by analysts to be an attractive asset as it is still a market leader in the UK.

Related website:

• Grampian Food Country Group

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