30 June 2000

Falling pig numbers force out Hutsons

SUFFOLK-BASED slaughterer Hutsons closed its doors last week, reflecting the pressure being felt by plants across the UK as pig numbers fall.

Recent reports suggested the abattoir was running at just two-thirds capacity, killing 4000 pigs a week. Last Friday processing was suspended leaving suppliers with a journey of up to 90 miles to alternative outlets.

By Wednesday a management buy-out was poised to secure the plant which hoped to re-open its doors and continue slaughtering on June 29 and 30. A statement from the prospective directors said many former customers had pledged support for the takeover. Financial arrangements with the existing bankers and credit insurance were being established.

On the back of tighter supplies, pig market prices remain buoyant. The latest UK adjusted euro-spec average for the week ending June 24 was 100.13p/kg. Spot markets have also performed strongly with porkers and cutters hovering just under £1/kg deadweight equivalent and baconers worth about 95p/kg deadweight. &#42