Grampian Country Food Group sale speculation

The future of Grampian Country Food Group is unclear, despite speculation that corporate finance specialist Morgan Cazenove has been appointed to handle the sale of the company.

The group, which is the UK’s largest meat processor and employs almost 20,000 staff in the UK and Thailand, has endured a turbulent period.

It axed more than a thousand jobs in recent years and in June announced record pre-tax losses of £40.5million for 2006. Grampian said the results reflected the most difficult period in its 27-year history.

The company insisted performance had improved considerably and that it was now trading profitably in the wake of a restructuring.

Eddie Power was appointed as group managing director in January 2006 to stem spiralling losses and the company claimed it had since implemented a comprehensive recovery strategy that saw the business return to profitable operations during the first six months of this year.

Last month it revealed plans to shut a chicken plant at Banff, with the likely loss of 140 jobs.

Both Grampian and Morgan Cazenove are remaining tight-lipped about the claims the business is for sale.

A spokesman for Grampian told FARMERS WEEKLY comments in the press were based on speculation and were inaccurate.  “As a private company we don’t discuss who we may or may not have appointed as financial advisers to the business,” he said.

However, he refused to comment on which aspects of the report were false or confirm whether its content was “wholly inaccurate.”

Executive chairman Fred Duncan could land a windfall of around £275million if a sale of the company – founded at Banff in 1980 – goes ahead, it was reported.

A spokesperson for Morgan Cazenove said, “We have seen the reports but we are not in a position to comment. The company concerned is not listed so it is not under the same reporting requirements a listed company would be. They don’t have to put anything into the public domain they don’t want to. They will talk to the press when they see fit.”

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