The approval will allow the purchase of 12 former Vion processing sites and safeguard the jobs of the 5,000 people who work at them, a 2 Sisters spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“The OFT has fully reviewed the transaction, including the combination of the poultry businesses owned by both parties, and concluded that there is not a competition issue,” he said. “The integration of both the red meat business and poultry business can now proceed.”
2 Sisters said the approval would allow the group to implement plans to invest and improve the Vion business, which remained loss making.
Develop the beef and lamb business
It would also enable the manufacturer to develop the beef and lamb business, which offers growth potential.
“The outcome also ends any uncertainty for our employees, for our customers and for farmers and other suppliers who serve these sites,” said the spokesman. He added that the deal was good news for UK consumers. They will “benefit from a secure supply of British meat and continued fierce competition amongst the supplier base, with both domestic manufacturers and imported chicken from a number of countries across the world.”
OFT approval is expected to safeguard over 1,600 jobs in Scotland, including 1,000 at Cupar Angus, 400 at Cambusland and 280 at Portlethen.
Scottish finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed the approval. “I am delighted that the OFT has taken a positive decision to back vital investment in Scotland’s food and drink industry by 2 Sisters Food Group, safeguarding jobs across the country,” said Swinney.
‘Safeguarding jobs across the country’
“We have been in contact with 2 Sisters Food Group throughout this process and I am due to meet Mr Singh [Boparan] in July to discuss how we can secure a strong future for these operations.”
Speaking in March – when the takeover was first announced – Ranjit Boparan, 2 Sisters chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be acquiring Vion UK’s poultry and red meat businesses. They have faced significant uncertainty and tough trading in recent months, but today’s acquisition secures a viable future.
“With the majority of the operations being in Scotland and Wales, we are delighted that the Scottish and Welsh governments are supportive of this deal and we look forward to working with them and developing a sustainable future for these businesses.”
Edwina Hart, Welsh business minister, also welcomed the announcement in March: “It safeguards the future of their [2 Sisters’] operations in Wales. We have been working closely with both Vion and 2 Sisters to help secure this deal in order to sustain the future for the workers and the supply chain in Wales.”
2 Sisters supplied branded and own-label products to major retailers across the bakery, chilled, poultry and frozen categories.
The firm – which owns the Fox’s Biscuits and Goodfella’s Pizza brands – employs more than 18,000 people with annual sales of over £2.3bn.