AHDB in advanced talks to sell MLCSL
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is in discussions with private firm HallMark Veterinary Compliance Services about taking over its commercial subsidiary Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Limited (MLCSL).
The aim is to secure the long-term future of independent classification services for farmers across the UK, in response to a challenging business environment and the need to respond to new technology classification systems.
AHDB believes that by moving the business into the private sector with a company that has a strong track record of delivering independent services to the meat industry, it will open up opportunities for greater efficiencies and synergies not possible under the current public ownership model and secure the company’s future.
A year-long process took place to identify suitable companies that met the criteria set by the AHDB Board.
This included considering value for money, track record of delivering independent verification services to the meat industry and commitment to the long-term future of the business.
After an extensive bidding process which involved a large number of interested parties, AHDB has now moved to the final phase of negotiations with HallMark, with the hope that a deal will be completed by the summer.
AHDB chief executive, Jane King, commented: “MLCSL is facing an increasingly challenging business environment and we believe that this move will help secure its future.
“We believe that there will be synergies and efficiencies realised under commercial ownership that would just not be possible under the current public ownership model.
“These will be vital in securing the short-term prospects of the business and freeing up investment for the future.
HallMark chairman, David Peace, added: “We are extremely pleased to have been selected by AHDB as the organisation with which they will hold exclusive discussions about taking over the subsidiary, MLCSL.
“As a key contractor to government departments for statutory farm inspections and Official Controls in abattoirs, we pride ourselves on HallMark’s independence, integrity and expertise.
“It is therefore clear to us that MLCSL’s outstanding reputation in all these regards will help us to further strengthen our own position, as well as fulfil our overall strategic objective to diversify and grow our operational capacity towards ever-improving efficiencies for our customers.”