11 August 1999
Danes deny Malton bid rumours
By FWi staff
INDUSTRY speculation that the UKs largest pig processor, Malton Bacon, will be purchased by Denmarks biggest group, Danish Crown has been dismissed.
Unigate-owned Malton has declined to comment on the rumours, while Danish executives described the speculation as laughable.
“It is not something we have even thought of,” said one. “We do not know where the rumours have come from, but we are all laughing very much.”
With Danish Crown still in the process of merging with another big Danish operator, VJS – a move announced last autumn – it was unlikely the company would be contemplating a move into the UK, he added.
But the news did not surprise many in the trade following Maltons bad start to the year.
Producer loyalty has been diminishing at the Malton factory for some time and the plant will need volume to survive, said one industry insider.
We all know that the national pig herd is declining at present and, if the company loses product, it wont survive unless its competitors close before it does, he added.
British farmers are concerned that a move by the Danes into the country could put even more pressure on prices.
“UK prices would track European prices even more closely, and thats not good news,” said a producer.
The concern is that British farmers would have to compete on the cost of production with European producers.
With the added welfare costs put on farmers in this country, they really would struggle, he pointed out.