More than 1,500 Scots jobs saved with Vion takeover

OVER 1,500 Scottish jobs are to be saved after a firm announced it will buy poultry and red meat processing businesses owned by Dutch company Vion.

The privately owned, Birmingham-based 2 Sisters Food Group will take over the running of chicken factories in Coupar and Cambuslang, as well as a meat processing operation at McIntosh Donald, Portlethen, from Vion.

Vion, which owns 11 processing sites in the UK, supplied poultry, beef and lamb to retail and food service sectors across the UK and Europe, but made the decision to exit the UK market last year following “challenging trading conditions”, particularly in the poultry sector following the loss of a number of major contracts.

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While the acquisition secures a viable future for these businesses, no plans have been announced to save the Vion-owned Broxburn Hall’s plant.

Workers at the meat processing factory were laid off in stages as the plant finally closed its doors last month, resulting in a loss of 1,700 jobs.

An offer from the Scottish Government to buy and lease back the factory was rejected by Vion, who said accepting public money would only delay any potential decision regarding closure.

A spokesman for Vion said the acquisition of the Broxburn plant by 2 Sisters “was never part of the deal”. He said: “That plant went through a consultation process which was entirely separate, and it was always made clear it wouldn’t be part of any jobs from the other sites. It’s now actually closed.”

A spokesman for 2 Sisters said that across the UK, around 6,000 employees will be kept on.

In Scotland, Vion confirmed that a total of 1,530 jobs will be saved: 800 at the Coupar Angus plant, 410 at Cambuslang and 320 at Porlethen. There are also about 472 employees within the firm’s agricultural activities.

A “delighted” finance secretary John Swinney said: “My officials and I look forward to working with 2 Sisters to secure a sustainable future for Vion and its plants in Scotland.”

Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire added: “This has been a period of great uncertainty for the Coupar Angus workforce, and I am very pleased this has been resolved.”

2 Sisters said they hoped the acquisition will safeguard a key supply chain for high quality British poultry and meat.