£1.2m government boost for St Merryn

A Welsh meat processor is to benefit from a £1.2m government cash boost towards new machinery in a bid to boost plant efficiency.

St Merryn Foods, part of Vion UK, will be getting the cash through the Single Investment Fund from the Welsh Assembly government and will be used to help buy new equipment for the production line, a new product sorting and packing room, as well as a revised plant layout – all aimed at increasing the volume of productivity and ensuring the plant stays at the forefront of meat processing technology.

Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs, said: “Welsh red meat abattoirs and processing plants play an important role in delivering a profitable and sustainable Welsh red meat industry and this grant will play an important role in achieving that.

“The Welsh Assembly Government seeks to support food producers, food processing and agri-food businesses in Wales. Our aim is also to increase income and employment as well as support the agricultural industry to adapt to future demands."

The Merthyr-based plant, which employs 977 employees, slaughters, processes and packs beef and lamb for Tesco, which provides 90% of the site’s revenue.

The Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy & Transport Ieuan Wyn Jones said St Merryn was an extremely important local employer making a significant contribution to the local economy.

"In these challenging trading conditions, all businesses need to ensure they are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible and the Assembly Government’s Single Investment Fund can support these activities to ensure businesses in Wales remain competitive and that jobs are safeguarded.”

Ian Woods, finance director of Vion UK’s red meat business unit, added: “This investment is the biggest single project in any of the Vion UK red meat business unit processing facilities, since the initial construction of the Merthyr Tydfil site. It will increase the efficiency of the plant, engaging proven technology to reduce cost and maintain the business’ competitive position with its customers. This investment could not have taken place without the substantial support of the Welsh Assembly Government.”

The Single Investment Fund provides financial support for businesses undertaking new projects in Wales. SIF is flexible and can be tailored to the particular needs of a business at any stage in their development.

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