Buyer interest invited for turkey seller Bernard Matthews

Fri, 01 Jul 2016 | BUSINESS SALE

Turkey producer Bernard Matthews has been placed on the market, after “disappointing results” over the past 12 months.

The business's owner has brought in PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to seek potential buyers for the Norfolk-headquartered firm this week. Rutland Partners, which also owns Pizza Hut, and electronics retailer Maplin, bought the company in 2013.

The sale “does not affect the internal operation of the business”, Rutland Partners' executive chairman Alan Jamieson reassured staff when he gave the news in an email. Mr Jamieson added: “Neither does it reduce in any way Rutland’s support for the BM management team as it continues to strengthen and improve the business following the disappointing results achieved over the last year or so.”

Unite union represents about 400 of Bernard Matthews' 2,000 staff, and nevertheless voiced its concern regarding the implications for staff after the news of the upcoming sale, calling for “clarity on what this means for the company and the workers”.

The firm was named after its founder, who started out as a trainee livestock auctioneer in Norwich, and died aged 80 six years ago with an estimated fortune of £300 million. His Golden Norfolk Turkey is still the most popular frozen branded whole turkey eaten at Christmas time in Britain, the website asserts.

Bernard Matthews suffered an outbreak of bird flu in 2007 at its factory in Holton, Suffolk, as was also later hit by the soaring costs of turkey feed in 2011.

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