Vestey Group snaps up army contract from troubled DBC foodservice

The Vestey Group has bought a lucrative contract to supply food to British troops from troubled firm DBC Foodservice, which went into administration earlier this week.

DBC Foodservice, a privately owned foodservice supplier selling into the catering industry, hotels, local authorities, healthcare and high street restaurant chains, employed 982 people in the UK, with depots on 11 different locations across the UK. It acquired it largest contract provide foodstuff for the MoD, including troops based in the UK and deployed abroad in 2006.

The new deal safeguards 200 jobs and secures the future of operations of the meat processing and packing plant in Petersfield, which is the sole bacon supplier to the army, as well as Dundonald in Ayrshire. It was negotiated by joint administrators from Baker Tilly, who were appointed on Tuesday (27 March).

Vestey Foods UK Ltd deputy CEO, Adam Cox said: “Our priority has been to ensure the continuation of the MoD food supply chain and the undisrupted delivery of high quality food that the Armed Forces rely on.
“The acquisition of the DBC Foodservice MoD contract will not only ensure that this can be achieved, but it will also safeguard over a fifth if the total number of DBC’s UK staff.”

As yet, the future of the firm’s other sites is uncertain. Around 287 job losses have already been confirmed at the South Yorkshire depot (100), as well as sites in Berkshire (96), Essex (34) and Cardiff (25), the West Midlands (12), Devon (13), Cheshire (5) and the head office at Welwyn Garden City (2).
Staff at the company’s sites were told on Tuesday that Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery LLP had been appointed as joint administrators. The chartered accountants and business advisors had been working with DBC Foodservice to find a buyer for the whole business. However, despite overnight talks on Monday, a solution to avoid going into administration was not found. The business was said to have made losses of £10m in the last two years.

In February DBC reported that its total fresh meat sales increased by 10% year-on-year from 1 April to 31 December 2011. It also announced the expansion of its range of Red Tractor quality assured fresh meat range after £600,000 of incremental sales across in the 20 weeks to 13 February.

The Vestey Foods Group is an independently owned group of companies which specialises in the import, storage and distribution of foodstuffs from global suppliers into over 70 countries worldwide. It has been involved with the British Armed Forces Global Food Supply contract for many years, with a relationship dating back to the First World War .


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