Bernard Matthews on slow road to sustained recovery

Bernard Matthews on slow road to sustained recovery

UK poultry processor Bernard Matthews said its number one priority is the long-term sustainability of the company following the purchase of turkey farmer Lincs Turkeys.

The firm this morning (7 May) announced it had bought Lincolnshire-based turkey farmer Lincs Turkeys, following a period of extensive due diligence. The company achieved sales of GBP23m (US$34m) in 2008 and specialises in free-range and fresh turkey products.

The firm has seen its brand value eroded in the wake of a 2007 bird flu outbreak at one of its poultry facilities. In 2008, the company reported operating profit of just GBP875,000 despite sales of GBP335.5m, and in February the firm announced plans to cut up to 160 jobs at its frozen whole bird business.

However, a spokesperson for Bernard Matthews told just-food: “This acquisition is about investing in and growing the business for the future. Bernard Matthews’ number one priority is the long-term sustainability and success of the company.”

The spokesperson added that its performance in 2009 would suggest a “further modest improvement” on its 2008 figure for the financial year ended 31 December 2009.

The purchase comes on the back of the launch of a GBP5m marketing campaign by Bernard Matthews and the return of the slogan "bootiful" last month, as well as the hiring of celebrity chef Marco Pierre White as an ambassador for turkey.

The spokesperson however, said there were no further acquisitions planned at the current time.

“Bernard Matthews’s focus will be to grow the company by investing in new initiatives and innovative products to drive turkey consumption in the UK, promoting it as a perfect protein all year round.”

The firm added that the acquisition is being funded through the company’s own resources and through debt finance.