04/03/2013 15:07

The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed 2 Sisters Food Group's acquisition of VION's poultry and red meat processing businesses at Sandycroft on Deeside, Llangefni and Merthyr Tydfil but expressed concern that the future of a second VION-owned red meat plant at Gaerwen on Anglesey is still under threat.


FUW livestock, wool and marts committee chairman, Anglesey beef and sheep farmer Dafydd Roberts, said: "We welcome this announcement but remain concerned for the future of VION's Welsh Country Foods lamb processing plant at Gaerwen.


"We very much hope that this plant, which employs 360 people, will be allowed to continue operating as normal in the future.


"Welsh Country Foods, which has been under threat of closure since mid-January after losing a contract to supply Asda, is the only major processing facility for Welsh lamb in North Wales, handling 640,000 lambs per annum.


"Any loss of processing at Gaerwen would be a huge blow to the local economy and the community of Anglesey, as well as to the wider Welsh farming community.


"Hopefully, 2 Sisters' latest acquisitions in north and south Wales will provide a positive boost to the economy of the region."


Birmingham-based 2 Sisters Food Group was established in 1993 by its chief executive Ranjit Singh and remains a privately-owned company with 35 manufacturing sites in the UK and Ireland, six in Holland and one in Poland.


The group employs around 18,000 people with annual sales of over £2.3bn following the acquisitions of Northern Foods and Brookes Avana in 2011.