Vion pledges investment after Grampian takeover

Farmer's Guardian -- DUTCH food giant Vion has pledged to provide ‘significant investment’ after its takeover of Grampian Country Food Group, providing a major boost to the UK livestock industry.

The company, owned by the Dutch farmers’ union, acquired Grampian last week in a deal reported to be worth around £350million, making them one of the leading food processors in the UK.

As well as taking control of Grampian’s pig and poultry operations, the deal includes red meat processors St Merryn Meat, McIntosh Donald and Welsh Country Foods – major suppliers to UK supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons the Co-op, Somerfield and Marks & Spencer.

As part of the deal, the group will come under the ownership of Vion’s UK arm, to be headed by former Meat and Livestock Commission chairman Peter Barr.

Vion’s commitment to invest in the firm will come as welcome news for its suppliers and the wider livestock industry, providing opportunities to capitalise on new markets as it looks to expand.

A spokesman for Vion UK said: “The commitment to the whole deal is about investment. Vion has a good track-record in investments and we very much see this as a huge opportunity and see the UK as the home market for Grampian.”

Eddie Power, group managing director of Grampian Country Foods said Vion had ‘ambitious plans for investment, development and growth’ in the UK marketplace, which will be of great benefit to the group’s farmer suppliers.

Vion is already a major supplier of bacon, fresh pork, beef, convenience foods and frozen vegetables to the UK market.

With Grampian processing over 7,000 tonnes of poultry and 6,000 tonnes of pork products every week, and with an annual turnover of £1.7billion, the deal will add significant value to Vion’s UK business.