Approved by Farming Minister George Eustice, MLCSL was sold to Hallmark Veterinary Compliance Services. The sale has generated £1.3m, which is expected to be reinvested in the beef, lamb and pork sectors.
The move was first announced in March. However, some meat industry trade bodies issued a joint letter calling for the sale to be put on hold so a working group could be set up to investigate it further.
Jane King, AHDB chief executive, said: “We believe this move will safeguard the long-term future of independent, manual, carcase classification services in Great Britain.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this sale from a lot of people and we are pleased we have finally crossed the finishing line.
“Credit should go to all involved, particularly those who work for MLCSL, and we wish Hallmark all the best as they take MLCSL into a new chapter.”
AHDB added that “by moving the business into the private sector with a company that has a strong track record of delivering independent services to the meat industry, it will open up opportunities for greater efficiencies and synergies that would not be possible under the current public ownership model and secure the future of the business”.
MLCSL has 103 staff members but no job losses are expected. Hallmark has said there would be “no disruption in services for customers, with business as usual” being maintained as part of the deal.
David Peace, chairman of Hallmark Veterinary Services, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the acquisition of MLCSL, which we believe fits very well with our current operations, to the mutual benefit of both businesses’ future development.
“MLCSL’s key strengths are its very highly experienced and loyal staff and managers, and we’re very excited about this opportunity to work together, building on MLCSL’s well-acknowledged skills, its powerful brand and expanding its services and reach.”