The firm, which operated a £4M state-of-the-art meat processing plant at Wick in northern Scotland, was placed in administration on Monday (April 30) after its owner's year-long search for a buyer failed.
Ian Fraser, of accountancy firm RSM Tenon, told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “The firm faced intense competition and rising costs within the meat slaughtering and processing sectors.”
The firm had intended to develop a range of Caithness-branded meat products but was able to operate only trial production runs until May last year. After May 2011, the firm ceased trading and was placed into “care and maintenance mode” and run by three employees, said Fraser.
But he highlighted considerable business potential for the plant, claiming that the 1,300m2 abattoir, equipped with meat processing and packaging facilities, would be ideal for a meat processor looking for additional capacity.
It would also suit an entrepreneur who wanted to launch a new branded meat business with all its facilities under one roof, he added.
The facility has the machinery to make smoked meats, sausage products and haggis as well as prime cuts. The site also includes offices and storage.
The plant was virtually brand new – having never run at full commercial production, according to the administrators. “The facilities plant took three years to design and build and features some of the best slaughtering and food processing equipment available,” said Fraser. The plant could be brought into production relatively quickly and easily, he added.
“While there has been a lot of consolidation in the UK abattoir trade, there are opportunities for businesses to develop high-value, branded products for the catering and retail sectors,” he said. “We hope the UK meat industry will rally round and a buyer will come forward to acquire this superb facility.”
The administrators also hoped the facility might spark interest from Europe’s farming and food processing industries.
The facility was accredited by the Quality Meat Scotland Assurance scheme for cattle, sheep and pigs. It also processed game meats and poultry, according to its Scotland Food and Drink listing.
The Caithness Beef and Lamb business was owned by meat entrepreneur John Sutherland.