ANM Group shuts meat plants

Scottish agri-business ANM Group has announced it is to close its Highland Country Foods processing unit in Forres, leading to a number of job losses.

The farmer-owned venture will also transfer its lamb slaughtering activities from its Dornoch site to Inverurie, due to declining livestock supplies and a competitive marketplace.

The changes are planned for completion by March, announced the company, in a drive to maintain the strongest possible core to its business.

ANM CEO Alan Craig said: “The only way a meat and livestock business such as ours can continue to prosper in today’s business and trading environment is by being smarter and fitter than our competitors. We have a strong financial base, committed producer support, top class products and a highly skilled staff. These are the qualities that will keep us moving forward in 2010 and beyond, but only if we continue to make the right decisions on how the business is structured and operated.

“It is obviously regrettable that the two planned changes we have announced today may involve some job losses. Hopefully, as many as possible of those affected will be able to transfer to other ANM plants. Where this isn’t practical, we will do all we can to help or facilitate staff to find alternative employment.”

The planned transfer of lamb slaughtering activities from Scotch Premier Meat’s Dornoch plant to its Inverurie base will be supported by a £400,000 upgrade at the parent plant. A total of 29 staff, currently employed at Dornoch, are affected by the decision, added ANM, while staff numbers at Inverurie total 139.

Highland Country, owned by ANM since 2004, employs 18 people at Forres and produces 800t of cooked meat and bacon a year. It is planned to transfer most of its output from Forres to the group’s Glasgow site, which currently produces 1,800t a year and employs 32 people. Some output may also be relocated to the group’s site in Inverurie.