Potential Hallís buyer angered by Vionís rejection

It was always believed that Vion was not going to sell the Hallís of Broxburn site, said the managing director of hopeful buyer Graf Mortgage Corporation.

For the past four weeks Graf Mortgage Corporation, which is a private equity firm, MD Steve Green met with Vion many times, had many meetings and made numerous phone calls in attempt to buy the business, he said.

Yesterday, however, Vion rejected an offer to sell the £180m West Lothian-based meat processing plant to Graf Capital, which Green said he expected.

According to Green, Vion was very guarded about disclosure and Graf always had a theory from the start that Vion was not interested in selling the business at all. Green told meatinfo.co.uk: ďIím just a bit frustrated by the whole thing because we saw it coming from the start. At no point did I ever believe the business was for sale Ė they never brought lawyers or accountants to meetings.

ďSadly for 1,700 employees, their families and all the local Scottish businesses connected to them, I have been proven right.Ē

Green explained that, in a meeting with Vion last week, no one from the company asked what number of jobs would be saved. He said it was also an insult that Vion had stated publicly that Grafís offer was not viable and not a solution to the proposed closure of the plant. ďItís an absolute disgrace. What could be worse than closing a plant,Ē he added.

Vion previously reported the Hallís site to be losing £79,000 a day. The company also said it was unable to turn the business around. However, Graf proposed a business plan, which Vion also rejected as unviable, and Green said: ďI find it reprehensible that it will not sell the business to Graf and at least give the staff a fighting chance. We had plans for the business, which we are convinced would have meant few, if any, permanent job losses.Ē

A Vion spokesman told meatinfo.co.uk that this was not the case and Vion had endeavoured to do everything it could to help with the sale of the Hallís site. He said: ďWe were extremely disappointed to announce that Graf Mortgage Corporation, through its managing director Mr Green, had not provided clarity on its offer for the Hallís site, in spite of the fact that Vion was prepared to offer substantial financial assistance to support the acquisition.

ďVion was fully prepared to give consideration and significant financial assistance to Graf's offer, but without the necessary financial information regarding both the turnaround plan for the business and proof of funding to effect this turnaround, it has been impossible to progress their proposal.Ē

Related news:

>Vion rejects two Hall's offers

>Potential Hall's buyer asks for deadline extension

>Bid still on table as Hall's deadline passes


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