Finance Minister, John Swinney, has promised to discuss the future
of the Broxburn plant with interested parties
Scottish news: Hall’s of Broxburn - Dutch owners to sell all UK businesses
by Jamie Mann
The company that own Hall’s of Broxburn, which currently employs around 2,300 people across Scotland, has decided on a ‘new course’ that will focus solely on food production in Germany and the Netherlands.
Dutch food giant Vion NV has announced that it wishes to “carefully conclude the sales announced.” The firm’s UK headquarters is based in Livingston, overseeing 12 UK food companies, employing 13,000 people across 38 sites – 12 of which are in Scotland.
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Vion UK said that the sales would allow it to concentrate on "core markets in the Netherlands and Germany".
Hall’s recently surpassed 70 years of production, but closed the factory in Broxburn, West Lothian, shortly after.
Scotland’s finance secretary, John Swinney, said that the firm gave little warning over the move commenting: “Over the last few months we have repeatedly asked for reassurance on the future of other plants in Scotland. This information has not been forthcoming.”
John Gorle of the Usdaw union said Vion’s decision had “come out of the blue” and would be a “real shock” for its workforce.
In its press release Vion said:
“What we have observed is that the acquisitions in Food and the scale achieved have provided insufficient cost advantages.
“Due to the very disappointing results on food activities in 2011 and 2012 we reconsidered our presence on the three home markets: the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. We will now focus entirely on the redefined core activities. “
Hall's of Broxburn was founded in 1932 and makes a range of products with Scottish recipes including haggis, lorne sausages and black pudding.
According to their website, Hall's haggis is the bestselling haggis in the world.
A Possible Future
Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland, John Swinney said that it may be possible for Hall’s to continue in Scotland, acting as a "800 to 900-employee company, rather than the 1,700-employee company that Vion were trying to take forward".
Mr Swinney said:
"The company essentially started the Hall's of Broxburn process on the premise that it was consulting about plant closure,"
"The company has essentially put its businesses up for sale and there's a fundamental difference between these two processes."
He promised to talk to any parties interested in taking on the assets.
Peter Barr, chairman of Vion UK confirmed that there were “a number of interested parties”.
Mr Barr said: "We have already started detailed discussions with a number of interested parties, including management, regarding the acquisition of the various parts of the UK business and these are progressing well.
"The sale process will be completed in a smooth and orderly fashion to ensure business continuity for our employees, agricultural and other suppliers and our customers."
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