Watton based meat firm sold

Paul Hill, business editor Meat processing firm Bowes of Norfolk has been sold today in a �17.2m deal.The family-owned business, which employs more than 600 people, has been bought by Yorkshire-based pork supplier Cranswick.

Paul Hill, business editor

Meat processing firm Bowes of Norfolk was sold on Monday (April 6) in a �17.2m deal.

The family-owned business, which employs more than 600 people, has been bought by Yorkshire-based pork supplier Cranswick.

The deal, which is subject to approval by the UK competition authorities, will see the Bowes family retain their arable farming business and a portfolio of properties.


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Cranswick has also agreed to sell back Bowes' pig rearing operation to "certain members of the family and certain members of the management team".

In a statement today, Bowes directors said "The Bowes meat processing business will continue as a stand alone operation within the Cranswick Group, with its own management team here at Watton reporting to Cranswick's head office based in Yorkshire."

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Cranswick added: "We look forward to the 620 employees who work for the pork processing operation at Watton joining Cranswick and to working with the management buy-out team in respect of the supply of pigs to Bowes."

Bowes, founded in 1957 by Dudley Bowes, farms more than 4,000 acres and is one of the biggest employers in Breckland.

It supplies pork products to major supermarkets, including Tesco, and exports to Europe Russia South Africa and the Far East.

Bowes made a pre-tax profit of �2.1m on a turnover of �75.8m in the year ending March 2008.

Cranswick, a FTSE 250 listed company, traces its origins to producing pig feed in the 1970s. The firm now is a major player in the fresh and processed food industry and supplies fresh pork, gourmet sausages and cooked meats to retailers around the UK.

Cranswick reported a turnover of �599m and pre-tax profits of �35.3m for the financial year ending March 2008.

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