The new deal between Scotch Premier Meat (SPM), Mathers, and meat processor Scotbeef will see the consolidation of the SPM and Mathers businesses, which will be relocated at a new state-of-the-art factory at Thainstone Agricultural Centre in Inverurie. The venture will be run by Robbie Galloway, MD of Scotbeef owner J W Galloway, supported by ANM group chief executive Pat Machray and Mather’s managing director Michael Mountford.
Although Scottish bosses have hailed the venture as “positive” news, which is needed to address the problems facing the meat sector in the region, the partnership is “likely” to to result in job losses. SPM and Mathers, which will initially be run in tandem, have already entered a period of consultation with around 230 employees.
Galloway 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 are now a prerequisite. The interim consolidation of SPM and Mathers, which we will oversee, into one facility at Inverurie, followed by the relocation of the business to a new state-of-the-art facility at Thainstone will provide that and a platform for future growth.”
The new plant, which will be based on Scotbeef’s Bridge of Allen operations, will allow the current facility to relocate from a now residential area of Inverurie and aims to provide a primary processing service for farmers, retailers, exporters and independent butchers.
Chief executive of ANM Group Pat Machray said: “This is a ground-breaking agreement to safeguard the traditional agriculture industry in this part of the world.
“While tough decisions lie ahead of us all, 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, benefiting farmers, customers and the local economy as a whole.”
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren was delighted by the news and explained that the responsibility of improving the red meat sector was in the hands of the public body. He said: “Without question our processors have been experiencing a period of turbulence and it is vital our industry continues to be forward-looking and seizes opportunities to increase its efficiency and sustainability.”
ANM Group also confirmed that it has a serious buyer for its Yorkshire Premier Meat business, having entered a period of exclusive negotiations with a potential anonymous purchaser.