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Buyer found for financially troubled Banham Poultry

Banham Poultry, Attleborough Credit: ITV News Anglia

A buyer's been found for Banham Poultry in Norfolk after it revealed yesterday (Thursday 4th October) that it was in financial trouble.

There were fears for the future of the company at Attleborough, which employs more than a thousand people.

The MP for Mid Norfolk George Freeman, along with other MPs and local councils have been working closely with the company directors and their bank to secure the business.

It's been revealed that a deal has been done with Chesterfield Poultry in Derbyshire.

The MP for South West Norfolk Liz Truss has also been working closely with the directors of Banham Poultry.

The Conservative MP welcomed the announcement that a buyer has been found.

"I am delighted that a buyer has been secured for Banham Poultry. The business supports a considerable number of employment opportunities across East Anglia and I wanted to ensure every option was being explored by Lloyds Banking Group to protect the long term future of the business and safeguard jobs. I raised these points with senior directors at the bank, and I know the work done by George Freeman MP, local councils and the LEP in offering support has been instrumental in today’s positive announcement."

– Liz Truss MP, South West Norfolk, Con

“The business has faced a perfect storm in recent months, with increasing margin pressures from supermarket chains as a result of price competition, combined with increases in feed prices. It had been undertaking a number of capital projects designed to improve productivity in the longer term but these have impacted short term profitability which in turn has hit margin.”

– Allan Graham, Joint Administrator

The administrators Duff & Phelps secured the sale of the business and its assets to Derbyshire based Chesterfield Poultry Limited.

The business specialises in chicken production and its products are sold in grocery stores and small supermarkets around the UK, processing over 1,200,000 birds a week.

“The Foulger Family are very pleased to have secured a deal with Chesterfield Poultry to ensure the long-term future of Banham and secure the continued employment of a very loyal workforce, which was always at the forefront of any negotiations”

– Michael Foulger

“We are delighted to welcome Banham into the Chesterfield family and look forward to continuing the legacy of the brand and quality poultry production in Attleborough”

– Nadeem Iqbal, CEO Chesterfield Poultry Limited

The administrators say the sale of the business covers all assets, employees on permanent contracts, a hatchery and farms and processing plants at Banham.

The swift conclusion means there will be no break in processing, guaranteeing the continued supply of high quality poultry to the UK food industry.

New £20m savings plan reveals 'one of worst PFI deals in country'

Northamptonshire County Council has revealed plans for another £20m of savings. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Northamptonshire's cash-strapped county council has been wasting up to £2m a year on a private finance initiative described by its leader as "one of the worst in the country".

The contract with Shaw Healthcare was signed in 2003 by the then Labour-run council and relates to four specialist care centres.

They have 204 valuable beds - but they have been consistently running at 30-50% capacity because of the changes in requirements and standards.

Despite that, the council still has to pay the cost of all the beds including those that are unoccupied.

The cost is put at around £1.5m-2m per year plus the additional cost of placing service users in alternative places for £600-£700 a week, according to a council report.

Details of the deal were published in a so-called "stabilisation plan" which aims to save the council another £20m this year.

Home to school transport, use of agency staff and winter gritting are all in the firing line under the latest proposals.

“A great deal of work has been done with the commissioners to make sure we move towards financial stability.

“What this piece of work does is identify in-year measures which will help close the in-year financial gap. However clearly there are great challenges ahead and we must continue to focus all our energy on achieving financial sustainability.”

– Cllr Malcolm Longley
  • Click below to watch a full report from ITV Anglia's Graham Stothard

Government appointed commissioners welcomed the plans but said it was just a start.

“This plan is a start. Further work will be undertaken in the weeks ahead to reinforce and extend it in order to ensure that the key objective of balancing the books is met, whilst protecting the council’s vital core services.”

– Government commissioners
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