Moy Park’s Ashbourne poultry factory shuts down as soaring costs eat into profits

UK – Moy Park, the largest meat producer in Northern Ireland, has announced the closure of its poultry processing facility in Ashbourne, UK.  

The company said it arrived at the decision after assessing its operations where it reported a sharp drop in profits, which it blamed on rising costs.

With the closure, Moy Pak has moved manufacturing to chicken factories in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and Anwick, Lincolnshire.

Up to 860 permanent employees at the processing facility in Ashbourne, may lose their employment as a result of Moy Park’s decision.

When hatchery workers, temporary roles, and drivers are taken into account, up to 935 employees may be impacted.

The “proposed” action is the result of a strategic assessment, which will now be left with 11 food manufacturing plants across the UK, France, and the Netherlands.

Moy Park is one of Europe’s largest chicken companies with around 10,000 employees across its facilities in Northern Ireland, England, France, and the Netherlands.

In August, it reported profits of GBP30m from sales of GBP1.6b as opposed to making GBP76m on GBP1.5b in sales in 2020.

It said in a statement that increased production at its facilities in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and Anwick, Lincolnshire, allowed it to take on more work.

A spokeswoman for the firm said; “Whilst this is difficult news for all the affected employees, this has no reflection on their dedication or commitment to the business.

“We will be working closely to provide support to employees at the site and in our supply chain impacted by this proposed change.”

The largest poultry company in the UK, 2 Sisters Food Group, recently issued a warning about potential consequences for consumers due to a scarcity of carbon dioxide.

Pilgrims UK has also announced that its Ashton facility in northwest England had shifted to a four-day work week in line with current trends in the labor market.

A spokesperson for the company said that over the last 18 months, the UK pig sector has faced the most challenging time in its history due to a combination of significant increases in production costs among other factors.

“Many of these challenges are ongoing and resulted in Pilgrim’s UK recording an operating loss of GBP16m (US$18.3m) for the year to 26 December 2021.”

The largest poultry company in the UK, 2 Sisters Food Group, recently issued a warning about potential consequences for consumers due to a scarcity of carbon dioxide.

The UK’s largest CO2 provider, CF Industries Holdings, intends to temporarily close its last ammonia production facility in the country, a move which will have an impact on food companies throughout the industry.

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