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2 Sisters to close Witham slaughterhouse

2 SISTERS FOOD GROUP has proposed to close its Witham processing plant in Essex as part of efforts to turnaround its poultry business.

It also acknowledged that it is marketing its Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding business to improve its balance sheet.

The closure of Witham would aid the company in producing “shorter, more efficient supply chains”, 2 Sisters said in a statement.

Ronald Kers, 2 Sisters’ chief executive, explained: “We’re all acutely aware that some of our plans, such as reducing our UK poultry footprint, brings uncertainty for colleagues, and it is with regret that we have to make such proposals.

“But the alternative of doing nothing and hoping for an upturn is not an option.”

2 Sisters has lost money in its poultry business for five consecutive quarters. In its latest results, posted in late March, Mr Kers said “double digit” feed inflation was hampering profitability.

There has been much speculation about 2 Sisters disposing of non-core assets to raise finance to service debts, and Mr Kers confirmed the early stages of a sales process for the Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding Business.

Last year the company sold the Goodfella’s pizza brand, and early this year concluded the sale of both its Green Isle Brands and Donegal Catch fish businesses.

Mr Kers said a £250m bond that was due in July this year would be paid in full by the end of May.

He added: “This repayment of the 2019 Bonds, in accordance with the milestones previously communicated, is a significant step forward in the transformation of our business.”