Fresh uncertainty has been raised over the future of Bernard Matthews, with reports suggesting that the company’s owners could be preparing to transfer the company’s pension liability to the Pension Protection Fund. 

Rutland Partners, which is understood to have initiated a sale process of the UK’s largest turkey processor, is said to have struggled to find a buyer due to concerns over the group’s pension deficit. 

Boparan Holdings owned 2 Sisters Food Group is said to be the front runner to takeover the turkey producer – but talks reportedly hinge on the pension issue. According to a Sky News report, which cited unnamed sources, Bernard Matthews’ owner Rutland Partners could transfer the group’s pension fund to the PPF. 

The PPF is a statutory fund in the UK, intended to protect pensioners if their pension fund becomes insolvent. 

A spokesperson for Rutland told just-food: “It is not the company’s policy to comment on speculation in the media about the performance of Bernard Matthews or the pension scheme.”

Unite, the union representing 2 Sisters employees, voiced concern over the fresh uncertainty around the potential sale of Bernard Matthews. 

Unite regional officer Mark Walker said: “Media reports that Bernard Matthews could be sold by its current owners Rutland Partners to the 2 Sisters Food Group would cause uncertainty for staff, especially if it means that the pensions of the dedicated workforce being transferred to the Pension Protection Fund.
“Unite is seeking urgent clarification from Rutland Partners as to what is the current state of play. Our prime concern is the need for assurances on job security for our 450 members.”