12 January 1996

Sale ends uncertainty for Somerset pig plant

ONE of the south-wests largest pig abattoirs is to be sold to Dorset-based specialist bacon firm Case and Sons.

Contracts are expected to be signed next week, resulting in the handing over of the Wiveliscombe pig plant, Somerset, which has been owned and run for the past five years by the Barber family, for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase brings to an end an uncertain six-month period, during which the business was nearly bought by the Malton Bacon Company.

Company director Paul Barber admitted money had been lost over the past five years due to the lack of expertise in running such a large plant. Although the factory has a capacity of 8000 pigs a week, the current throughput is closer to half that figure. Mr Barber will continue to run his substantial pig farming enterprises at Ditcheat, near Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and Martinstown, near Dorchester, Dorset.

James Blakeney, Case and Sons managing director, confirmed agreement had been reached in principle and that contracts were very close to being signed.

Case and Sons Motcombe plant, near Shaftesbury, Dorset, has a throughput of 4000 pigs a week, with products marketed through a number of retail outlets under the Wiltshire Bacon label.

Grenville Welsh, British Pig Association chief executive, welcomed the takeover by a local company, claiming one of his most consistent complaints from south-west members was the increase in distances that pigs have had to travel to slaughter in recent years. &#42