Welsh Country Foods closes its doors

Welsh Country Foods closes its doors

Welsh Country Foods (WCF) lamb processing business on Anglesey has closed with immediate effect. The news comes following the completion of a 90-day consultation exercise with unions and workers which began in January.

The move to close the plant was taken following the decision by its key customer, ASDA, to move its fresh lamb business to an alternative supplier. Eddie Ennis, site director at Welsh Country Foods, said: “This is a very sad day for all those involved at WCF. We have explored every possible avenue to avoid having to take this extremely regrettable action but, unfortunately, we have been unable to identify any viable alternative to closure of the plant.

“We have had extensive discussions with a number of parties who expressed interest in buying the plant but regrettably no agreement could be reached with these parties whereby the site can continue operations on an ongoing basis.“We are fully aware of the impact which this decision will have on the local economy and the community in Anglesey but the loss of the plant’s major customer means that there is no longer a viable future for the site.”

The plant was purchased by VION Food Group in August 2008 when it acquired the Grampian Country Food Group and forms part of the Group’s red meat activities. Welsh Country Foods employs 310 staff and has been the major processing facility for Welsh lamb in North Wales, handling 640,000 lambs per annum.

VION announced in November that it was selling its UK food operations, employing in total 13,000 people at 38 sites, to focus on its core food activities in the Netherlands and Germany and its global ingredients business.

Eddie Ennis continued: “With closure of the plant now confirmed, we will be working closely with the relevant local agencies to identify ways to minimise the undoubtedly significant impact on jobs and the local economy.”

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