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Attleborough poultry revival ruled out

PUBLISHED: 10:15 17 June 2008 | UPDATED: 14:34 14 July 2010

Food giant Grampian last night ruled out restarting work at its Attleborough poultry factory as it emerged the company has been bought by a Dutch firm.

Food giant Grampian last night ruled out restarting work at its Attleborough poultry factory as it emerged the company has been bought by a Dutch firm.

Grampian Country Foods closed its loss-making plant in the town in February at a cost of 300 jobs. The closure was blamed, in part, on the fall in demand for breaded poultry products.

While most of the equipment in the buildings has been moved to Grampian facilities elsewhere in the country, the company still owns the site.

Yesterday it emerged that Dutch firm VION has acquired the Scottish food business for an undisclosed sum, subject to the approval of the UK competition authorities.

Grampian - which supplies beef, pork, chicken and lamb for retailers' "own-label" products - said that there was no prospect of a return to Attleborough in the wake of the deal.

But managing director Eddie Power said that the deal with VION would benefit farmer suppliers.

"This is an excellent out-come to the process which has been ongoing for some months and brings an end to speculation surrounding the Grampian business,” Mr Power added.

"VION has a successful track record in both meat processing and convenience foods for many years in Europe, and latterly in the UK. We are confident that the combined companies - which will continue to be managed from the UK - will benefit from the major strengths that this unique combination will provide.

"VION has ambitious plans for investment, development and growth in the UK from which the Grampian business and its farmer suppliers will benefit."

Grampian will be integrated into the new division called VION UK and will be led by new chief executive Ton Christiaanse.

Peter Barr, formerly chairman of the UK's Meat and Livestock Commission, will serve as the company's non-executive chairman.

VION has a single shareholder, the ZLTO, the Dutch Southern Agricultural and Horticultural Farmers' Union.

Daan van Doorn, chairman of VION, added: "This announcement is evidence of the great importance VION at-taches to the UK market.

"At the heart of VION's business is a passion for better food and Grampian is key to developing this strategy.

"The combined group will become a major player in the UK food industry. Together with Grampian's management we want to further intensify the cooperation with our retail clients by investing in Grampian, sharing knowledge and developing partnerships."

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