10/04/2012

Gordons advises Morrisons on acquisition of Vion UK meat processing facility

Law firm Gordons has advised retail giant Morrisons on an agreement to acquire an important 105,000 sq ft meat processing facility in Cheshire.

Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket group and second-biggest fresh food manufacturer, bought the purpose-built site in Winsford from Vion UK Ltd.

Currently a centralised fresh pork and lamb retail packing plant, the site has the capacity to expand into beef products and increase its overall production. The purchase will augment Morrisons’ capacity, as it continues growing, and enhance its control over the quality of meat products sold in-store.

Over 300 staff at the plant have had their jobs secured as a result of the deal, with further roles potentially being created in the next year as the business grows.

A Gordons team led by James Fawcett and Andy Brian advised Morrisons on the deal.

Jonathan Lill, finance director of Morrisons’ manufacturing division, said: “Vertical integration is a central part of our differentiation from our competitors. We own bakeries and produce packing factories, in addition to meat processing facilities, as this gives us greater control over the quality, cost and supply of fresh food into our stores.

“We’ve worked with Gordons for over 40 years, relying on their help to get many deals across the line during that time. Again, in this transaction, they were highly receptive to our needs and instrumental in the acquisition becoming a reality.”

Morrisons employs 132,000 staff and has almost 500 stores across the UK.

James Fawcett said: “We were delighted to have assisted Jonathan and the team at Morrisons with another important acquisition for its manufacturing division.”