500 jobs could be at risk as bacon firm Vion sells Scunthorpe plant
AROUND 500 employees face an uncertain future following the decision by their Dutch owners to sell off a bacon processing plant in Scunthorpe and pull out of the UK.
Bosses at Vion NV have told the workforce on the firm's Billet Lane site they are confident they will sell their whole UK meat processing units as on-going, viable businesses.
The sale of the UK operation, which employs 13,000 people, comes four years after Vion bought out the former Scunthorpe-based businesses run by Key Country Foods as part of a reported £380 million deal.
In November 2010, the Dutch owners axed 180 permanent and temporary jobs in Scunthorpe, following the loss of a major contract from supermarket giants Asda.
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Last week, the company announced it had embarked on a process to sell its UK food businesses to concentrate on its core markets in the Netherlands and Germany and the development of its global ingredients business.
Peter Barr, chairman of Vion UK, said: "Working with our advisors Rabobank/Rothschild, we have already started detailed discussions with a number of interested parties, including management, regarding the acquisition of the various parts of the UK business, and these are progressing well.
"The level of interest in the businesses has been strong and we hope to be in a position in the near future to give further details about the progress which has been made.
"The sale process will be completed in a smooth and orderly fashion to ensure business continuity for our employees, agricultural and other suppliers and our customers."
The company supplies beef, lamb, pork and chicken products to a broad range of blue-chip customers across the food retailing, food manufacturing and food service sectors.