ANM puts loss-making meat plants up for sale
One of the largest farmer owned co-operatives in Scotland, the ANM Group based at Inverurie, yesterday announced it was offering for sale its two meat processing plants.
The move to sell Scotch Premier Meat and Yorkshire Premier Meat follows a strategic review of the group’s operations, which was itself triggered by losses of almost £6 million in its meat processing operations.
In the last published company accounts, to December 2011, Scotch Premier produced a loss of £1.79m on a £55m turnover and Yorkshire Premier a loss of £1.39m on a £47m turnover. But at the annual meeting in March of this year, ANM chairman, Pat Machray confirmed a further £2.7m of losses had been marked down as post balance sheet actions.
At that time, Machray indicated the company would carry out a root and branch review of all its operations in order to get the organisation back into profit.
Yesterday, in a short statement issued by the board, the emphasis was on refocusing on the traditional core business, auction and valuation services, including its property portfolio, to ensure the future long-term sustainability of the Group.
The company confirmed that, in the interim period since the annual meeting, substantial improvements had been made to the costs and operations of both Scotch Premier and Yorkshire Premier, this having been achieved despite continued difficult trading conditions in the UK meat processing industry.
The statement stressed the quality of the workforce at both plants and confirmed it would be business as usual as far as their customers were concerned. The ANM sale decision comes less than a fortnight on from the announcement by Vion that Hall’s of Broxburn was at risk of closure, a combination that caused Jim McLaren, Quality Meat Scotland chairman, to express his concerns over the possible effect of the Scottish red meat industry.
“One message we have been repeatedly highlighting, and do so again today, is the need to maintain critical mass in our Scottish livestock industry,” he said.
“Any concern that an increase in stock numbers could undermine producer prices needs to be balanced against the potential impact on the future competitiveness of the whole red meat chain.”
Speaking on behalf of local farmers, NFU Scotland North-east chairman Charlie Adam said he hoped a buyer could be found.
“Having just returned from Orkney, which has had its own issues on meat processing, it does highlight the challenges to ensure we have a support system that maintains the critical mass of cattle and sheep numbers in order to underpin processing and auctioneering services,” he said.
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