31 July 1998

Dalgety mill closure costs 120 jobs

DALGETY is to close its compound feed mills at Avonmouth and Poole, with the loss of 120 jobs.

The move will take 250,000-290,000t a year out of the UK feed industry, reflecting the depressed state of livestock production.

Feed business in the south-east is being transferred to the farmer-owned SCATS, in a deal that will include redeployment of the Dalgety south-east sales force to the co-op.

Dalgety products will be sold alongside SCATS own branded feeds, with the two sales forces operating independently. Supplies will be manufactured at SCATS mills in Micheldever, Hants, and Robertsbridge, East Sussex.

Remaining Dalgety production in the south will be centred on the companys smaller, but more modern, mills at Calne, Wilts, and Cullom-pton and Lifton, both in Devon.

Feed director, Tony Taylor, said there was no prospect of an early recovery in the livestock sector. "Other people will have to do the same," he predicted.

The NFU, although uneasy about the concentration of farm supplies into fewer and fewer hands, is pleased with the choice of supplier. "What swings it for us is that SCATS is a farmer-controlled business," said William White, senior policy adviser, south-east. "It reflects the unions policy of encouraging more active business involvement by farmers in the supply and retail chains."

Neither side is revealing the cost of the take-over, apart from saying that the Dalgety product will be made under licence. Dalgety will maintain quality and formulation control for the present. Dalgety was sold in a NatWest Group funded management buy-out, worth £50m, last May. &#42

Peter Grimshaw