Tillery Valley Foods: Owners 'heartbroken' at factory closure with 250 job losses

Credit: ITV Wales

Around 250 jobs have been lost after the closure of a food factory in South Wales.

Tillery Valley Foods, in Abertillery, confirmed it was going into administration on Wednesday (May 17).

It's the latest blow to the food industry in Wales after a hundred jobs were lost at Garth Bakery in Abercynon in December and 700 jobs were lost in at a chicken factory in Anglesey.

Tillery Valley Foods provides meals for NHS patients and staff for a number of hospitals. Credit: Community Union

In a statement, Stephen Bolton, Executive Chairman of Joubere Ltd, who own the factory, said: "I am heartbroken for all our staff members and for the town of Abertillery as the loss of Tillery Valley Foods is a devastating blow for the town. I am deeply sorry that despite the best efforts of all involved we have not been able to save the business.

"We bought the business 20 months ago and walked straight into the teeth of the energy crisis. In our first year of ownership, we were hit by £2million of energy cost increases across gas electricity and fuel which put enormous pressure on the business. Added to this, the last nine months of inflationary increases in the cost of ingredients and packaging materials have proven too much for the business to recover from.

"Given the importance of the business to the region, we had hoped we might elicit some support from Welsh government, particularly in the light of the extraordinary energy cost increase we faced, but despite actively engaging with them over the last seven months, nothing has been forthcoming."

Owners says the loss of Tillery Valley Foods is a "devastating blow for the town". Credit: Google Maps

Tillery Valley Foods provides meals for NHS patients and staff for a number of hospitals.

Mr Bolton added: "I am also very conscious of the importance of this business in the supply of meals to patients in hospital beds across England, and we have worked very closely with NHS England over the last seven weeks to try and ensure that contingency plans are in place to minimise disruption."

'Major blow for dedicated workforce'

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "This extremely disappointing news will be a major blow for such a dedicated workforce, their families and the wider community.

"We have worked intensively with the local management team and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council throughout the last week to explore options for a management buyout. The Economy Minister met the team and the plant’s unions several times during that time to seek a resolution.

"The tireless efforts of the local management buyout team helped to demonstrate that a viable business is a genuine prospect at the site and we continue to consider how this could be developed further, despite today’s news, in order to secure a successful business in the longer term.

"It is deeply regrettable that the leadership of the outgoing company did not provide the openness and transparency required to allow the time needed for a strong business plan to be developed. Over a period months, we have repeatedly sought information from the leadership of the outgoing business to help prevent this outcome and develop alternative options. Unfortunately the information has not been forthcoming in a clear and timely manner.

"We will now establish an urgent taskforce alongside the local authority, Community Union, local elected representatives and DWP. This will include Welsh Government support via Careers Wales and the ReAct programme, with tailored packages of support designed to help the workforce find new job opportunities."