Breaking: 2 Sisters buys Vion

The 2 Sisters Food Group has announced the purchase of the remaining operations of Vion UK’s meat operations.

The company, which is owned by Boparan Holdings Limited (BHL), has agreed the acquisition of Vion’s poultry and red meat businesses in the UK, which it says will secure a viable future for the various operations which include St Merryn and McIntosh Donald. The deal does not include the struggling Welsh Country Foods operations and Vion said it was still exploring opportunities for the business as part of the 90-day consultation process.

BHL said the move would “help to meet growing demand from 2 Sisters’ poultry customers and further diversifies the company’s offering to include red meat, supporting 2 Sisters’ strategy of serving more meal occasions”.

Vion announced plans to quit its UK operations and retrench its business back on the Continent in November 2012. The final acquisition follows on the heels of a venture capital backed management buy-out of the company’s pork operations.

The deal with 2 Sisters will see the remaining 11 processing sites in the UK and approximately 6,000 employees transfer across.

Ranjit Singh, chief executive of 2 Sisters Food Group, said: “We are delighted to be acquiring Vion UK’s poultry and red meat businesses. They have faced significant uncertainty and tough trading in recent months, but today’s acquisition secures a viable future. With the majority of the operations being in Scotland and Wales, we are delighted that the Scottish and Welsh governments are supportive of this deal and we look forward to working with them and developing a sustainable future for these businesses.

“This acquisition will safeguard a key supply chain for high-quality British poultry and meat, offering reassurance to farmers in England, Scotland and Wales and upholding the quality and provenance that UK customers and consumers deserve.

“At 2 Sisters, we put the customer at the heart of everything we do and in line with our customers’ strategies, these businesses will help us to shorten the supply chain for consumers and meet growing demand for British-sourced food. Our immediate focus will be to improve performance, as we have successfully done with our previous acquisitions. We look forward to welcoming Vion colleagues to 2 Sisters Food Group, and to working together to grow our business.”

Peter Barr, chairman of Vion UK, said: “We are pleased to have reached such a positive conclusion to our discussions with 2 Sisters, one of the food sector’s most successful and respected businesses.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our employees for their support and commitment to the business during these challenging times and to  wish the 2 Sisters team every success with the newly-expanded operation.”

Edwina Hart AM, Welsh Business Minister, said: “I welcome today’s announcement that 2 Sisters is to acquire Vion’s poultry and red meat businesses, which safeguards the future of their operations in Wales. We have been working closely with both Vion and 2 Sisters to help secure this deal in order to sustain the future for the workers and the supply chain in Wales.”

John Swinney MSP, Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government, said: “I am delighted that 2 Sisters Food Group has agreed to buy Vion UK. I first called for a sale last November because of the uncertainty facing Vion and its importance to the Scottish food sector. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward and my officials and I look forward to working with 2 Sisters over the coming months, in order to secure a sustainable future for Vion UK and its plants in Scotland.”