Vion, which last month announced it wanted to exit the UK, has been in talks with a number of interested parties

Vion, which last month announced it wanted to exit the UK, has been in talks with a number of interested parties

Dutch food group Vion is understood to have sold its UK pork business in a management buy-out deal backed by private equity firm Endless.

Vion, which last month announced it wanted to exit the UK, has been in talks with a number of interested parties on the future of its business in the country, where it employs 13,000 people at 38 sites.

According to the Financial Times today (3 December), the buy-out of the unit, which has estimated sales of EUR0.80bn is being backed by Leeds-based private equity firm Endless. The group reportedly has "high hopes" of turning the fortunes of the business around and "preserving jobs".

Vion is understood to be continuing discussions over its remaining red meat and poultry arms, with a deal to secure deals for those expected "in the next few months", the FT said.

A spokesperson for Vion told just-food no deal had yet been agreed or signed for the firm's pork arm and that "discussions are continuing".

"We can't say anything about individual buyers and we won't at this stage until something is signed," the spokesperson said. "We're hoping to make an announcement fairly soon."

Vion has been in talks with a number of interested parties on the future of its business in the country, where it employs 13,000 people at 38 sites. The company last week said suitors included management but refused to comment on whether an MBO on that part of its UK business was close.

Vion entered the UK in the late 1990s. However, parts of its business in the UK have faced problems and the company has spent recent years reshaping the business.

In July, Vion announced it wanted to close its loss-making Hall's of Broxburn plant in Scotland amid over-capacity in the UK meat sector and "extremely challenging" trading conditions.

Vion has said it wants to focus on its "core" operations in the Netherlands and Germany, as well as developing its ingredient business.