21 February 1997

Perth creditors short of £2m

FARMERS and auction marts are owed £2m out of total debts of almost £9m left by Perth Fresh Meats.

That part of the Beck Food Group has been sold at an undisclosed figure to Anglo Beef Processors. A meat plant at Boston, Lincs, and a smoked salmon business in Perth are still up for sale.

Receiver Iain Bennet of Price Waterhouse said he thought a "reasonable" dividend would eventually be paid to creditors.

Perth Fresh Meats had a turnover of about £60m and handled up to 10,000 lambs and 1500 cattle each week. The collapse followed withdrawal of lucrative contracts by Safeway and Tesco after concerns about hygiene and general standards at the plant. All 350 employees were made redundant.

A spokesman for ABP said the intention was to re-open the Perth operation which includes an abattoir, a boning plant and a separate packaging centre. "We will have to take a long look at Perth, but basically it is a modern plant which can fit into our Scottish operation."n