A NEW multi-million pound meat processing facility in the north east of Scotland is to be created under a new three-way partnership.
Scotbeef, Scotch Premier Meat, and Mathers (Inverurie) announced on Friday what was hailed as ‘a new era for the Scottish meat processing industry’.
The collaboration, they say, is aimed at safeguarding and developing the meat processing sector in the region.
As well as consolidating the SPM and Mathers businesses, a state-of-the-art meat processing facility is planned for the Thainstone Agricultural Centre, Inverurie. This is the headquarters of the ANM Group, the parent company of SPM.
The newly created enterprise will be led by Robbie Galloway, the managing director of J.W. Galloway (who own Scotbeef and Vivers), supported by ANM Group chief executive Pat Machray, and with Mathers’ managing director, Michael Mountford in the on-going role of site director.
Based on the business model of Scotbeef’sexisting processing facility at Bridge of Allan, Stirling, the new development will provide primary processing services for farmers, retailers, export, independent butchers and other customers.
Its aim is to be the most energy efficient of its kind in Europe and it will also remove current processing operations from what has become a residential area.
The new company will initially run the current SPM and Mathers operations in tandem before they are consolidated at Inverurie.
A period of consultation with the 230 employees at both companies will take place with the intention to retain as many as possible. But the partners saidit was likely there would be some job losses.
MrGalloway said: “These are extremely challenging times for the meat processing industry in Scotland with the twin pressures of a shortage of raw materials and the continuous price pressure from customers”
To ensure sustainable business, efficient facilities were now a prerequisite, he said.
“This will need to involve assistance from the public sector, significant efforts from all concerned and no little pain in the short term. We are committed to a viable and long term business in the North-east and will work hard to deliver that.”
Chief executive of ANM Group, Pat Machraysaid: “The enormous significance and importance of this new partnership cannot be understated – this agreement should secure the long term future for meat processing in the North-east while maintaining a highly competitive market, benefitting farmers, customers and the local economy as a whole.”
“It is important for me as the CEO of the ANM Group to maintain the strong link our co-operative has with the meat processing sector and I look forward to working with both Scotbeef and Mathers for the good of the industry.”
The announcement has been welcomed by the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for rural affairs Richard Lochhead, and Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland.