The company, one of the leading suppliers of British pork into the retail, trade and foodservice industries, plans to complete the capital investment projects this year.
The programme of upgrades comes as the company continues to deliver on its turnaround programme following its establishment as an independent company by UK-based private equity house, Endless, in January 2013.
- a £6.5M investment into new chilling and processing technology at Karro’s facility in Cookstown, Northern Ireland;
- a £1.5M upgrade to the gammon processing line at its Malton site and expansion of the company’s fresh pork and gammon production and slicing capability;
- a £1M investment in a new kill line at Malton to facilitate export and domestic supply;
- a £1M investment in new packing lines at its Haverhill site.
Karro also plans to launch an innovation centre at its Malton headquarters, which it hopes will drive new product development and research and development for the business.
These investment plans follow Karro’s announcement that it delivered a pre-tax profit improvement of £10M in its first year as an independent business. That had been an important milestone in its turnaround strategy, it said.
“This significant investment demonstrates Karro’s commitment to use the latest technologies to enhance our already excellent product quality and provide the best service possible to our valued customers,” said Di Walker, executive chair at Karro Food Group.
“It is further evidence that we are well-ahead of our five year turnaround plan, and gives us added capability to develop our strategic retail and trade partnerships and enter new markets.
‘Significant financial improvement’
“The underlying performance of the business continues to gain momentum and we are extremely positive about the outlook for Karro Food Group. Furthermore, we will be in a position to report another year of significant financial improvement when we release our 2014 accounts in the coming months.”
In January, Karro announced proposals to cut 150 jobs at its Scunthorpe plant on Billet Lane amid rumours that Tesco had slashed orders of bacon from the site.
Karro boasts an annual turnover of £533M. The privately-owned company supplies fresh pork and cured, cooked and frozen meats to retail, foodservice and manufacturing customers.
It employs 3,000 people across the UK and has nine divisions in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.