Management buy out at Vion

COOKSTOWN pork processing plant Vion have confirmed the management buy-out of its plant in Cookstown.

The Dutch owned food processing plant announced last month that they would be selling it’s entire UK food operation. The move was part of a strategy to focus on its core food activities in the Netherlands and Germany.

The buyout has been, led by Seamus Carr, the managing director of Vion’s Pork Business Unit, backed by UK private equity firm Endless.

Mid Ulster DUP MLA Ian McCrea welcomed the news saying: “I wholeheartedly welcome the announcement that confirmation has been given of the management buy-out of the Vion Processing Plant in Cookstown.

Not only is this good news for the Northern Ireland food industry, but it brings to an end the uncertainty, especially for the employees of the factory in Cookstown who do an excellent job in the most efficient Vion factory in the UK.

Earlier this year Vion announced an investment of £11.5 million to enhance the processing facilities and the creation of 164 new jobs. At the time when the announcement of the sale was made, I sought and was given assurance by management in the Cookstown Factory that the expansion plans that they have been committed to will go ahead as planned and will be part of any takeover bid.

With jobs safe and the future of the factory now certain, I look forward with excitement to seeing how the future development of the business progresses; keeping it as the largest pig processing site in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

The news was also welcomed by the The Ulster Farmers’ Union, UFU Pork and Bacon Chairman Ivor Ferguson said the news was a fresh opportunity for the local pig industry in Northern Ireland.

MR Ferguson said; “I welcome the news that the future of Vion’s pork division has been secured through a management buyout. I also wish to publicly congratulate Seamus Carr on his new role as Managing Director of Vion Pork UK and we look forward to working with Seamus and his colleagues to forge a positive relationship between local pig producers and the processor.

This is good news for Northern Ireland pig farmers, removing any uncertainty over the future of local pig processing. I anticipate that the new management team will wish to follow through on plans to increase the capacity of the Vion plant in Cookstown. I hope this will signal an upturn in fortunes for the industry which has endured a very difficult 2012.”