Hillsdown to quit pig business
Wednesday 28 February 1996
Hillsdown Holdings, the food manufacturing conglomerate, is set to abandon its loss-making pig-meat businesses with the loss of up to 420 jobs.
The jobs will go at the company's C&T Harris subsidiary, which is negotiating with unions over the closure of two pig-meat plants in Ipswich. Hillsdown is negotiating to sell the remainder of the Harris business to Unigate for pounds 11.4m.
Unigate said it planned no job losses at the two plants and hoped to add more staff as the business progressed.
Unigate's chief executive, Ross Buckland, said: "Three or four years ago we were just another pig-meat operator. But thanks to capital investment and good management we have managed to build markets in other countries and grow the business."
Hillsdown and Unigate have experienced widely different fortunes in the pig market. Hillsdown has struggled with smaller volumes and the Harris business made an undisclosed loss last year on sales of pounds 110m. The company has been pulling out of commodity businesses where it could not establish itself as a low-cost producer.
Harris has been hit recently by the high pig prices as well as pressure from Unigate's more successful Malton pig businesses.
Unigate has invested pounds 40m in its pig businesses in the last three to four years. The company now achieves undisclosed profits on sales of pounds 350m.
It has successfully increased volumes while seeking other markets. It has been selling higher priced items abroad such as pork spare ribs to the United States. This has enabled it to reduce prices in the UK, placing pressure on rivals such as Hillsdown.
The Harris deal is Unigate's second pig purchase this year. In January it bought Booker's two bacon businesses, Stock Lovell and Lovell and Christmas for pounds 20m.
Unigate is cash-rich after the pounds 332m sale of its 29 per cent stake in Nutricia, the baby milk company in December.
It is also tipped as a possible bidder for Geest, which after the sale of its banana business to Fyffes is now a manufacturer of chilled foods and prepared meals.
Unigate shares closed 6p higher at 443p. Hillsdown shares were 2p lower at 172p.
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Family of man named as 'Jihadi John' described by neighbours as 'normal Muslim family'
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Mohammed Emwazi: Man identified as Isis killer 'Jihadi John' 'stopped by MI5' while on safari holiday in Africa in 2010
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
iJobs Money & Business
£53000 - £58000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Software Develo...
£10 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you an experienced Project Administrato...
£120 - £140 Day Rate: Richard Bishop: Are you an immediately available managem...
£120 - £140 Day Rate: George Parlour: Are you an immediately available managem...