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Bernard Matthews proposes closure of cooked meats site where 600 are employed

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The Great Witchingham site produces cooked meats. Credit: Getty / LauriPatterson
The Great Witchingham site produces cooked meats. Credit: Getty / LauriPatterson

Related tags Closure

UK poultry manufacturer Bernard Matthews has proposed the closure of its Great Witchingham site in Norfolk.

According to the firm’s most recent financial results, Bernard Matthews reported an annual loss before taxation of £10.2m, with a turnover of £284.9m during the year ending 1 January 2023.

A total of 600 people are employed at the Great Witchingham site, with a spokesperson for Bernard Matthews stating that the company hoped to offer “alternative roles​” at a sister site in Holton if the closure is confirmed, “or across our wider group at company sites in East Anglia, where we intend to invest and grow​.”

In 2017, Bernard Matthews was acquired by Amber REI Holdings, a holding company owned by Ranjit Boparan, owner of 2 Sisters Food Group. In addition to the Holton site, 2 Sisters and Banham Poultry operate locations in Flixton, Attleborough, Thetford and Eye.

Explaining the decision to propose the closure, a spokesman for the Great Witchingham site said: “Following a review of our operations in East Anglia, we are proposing to make changes to help us overcome the huge challenges facing our sector.

“Regrettably, our cooked meat site at Great Witchingham is not a sustainable operation. Despite investment in recent years and our efforts to secure more business, it is still loss-making and not commercially viable.

“Therefore our proposal is to cease operations at this location, putting the site at risk of closure.

“We understand this will be extremely disappointing news for everyone concerned at Great Witchingham. This proposal is in no way a reflection of the hard work and commitment our colleagues show every day.

“Our key priority now is to hold consultations with all employees and their representatives and explore the full range of options before making any final decisions.”

Great Witchingham Hall, also owned by Bernard Matthews, is not affected by the proposals.

In other news, machinery and equipment manufacturer Apple Food Systems has entered administration, information available on the Companies House website confirms.

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