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March 10, 2015

Karro Food Group to invest in production

UK-based pork supplier Karro Food Group has set out plans to invest GBP10m in production and processing at its operations in the country.

By Dean Best

UK-based pork supplier Karro Food Group has set out plans to invest GBP10m (US$15.1m) in production and processing at its operations in the country.

Karro said the "programme of upgrades" would take place over the next 12 months. It plans to spend GBP6.5m on "new chilling and processing technology" at its facility in Cookstown, Northern Ireland.

Karro will pump GBP1.5m into upgrading its gammon processing line at its headquarters in Malton and expanding fresh pork and gammon production and slicing at the site. The operations in Malton will see a further GBP1m spent on a new kill line "to facilitate export and domestic supply" and the establishment of an innovation centre.

Karro's plant in Haverhill will have another GBP1m spent on adding packing lines to the facility.

The company said the investment would be funded from cash generated by the business. Karro, formed from Vion's former UK pork assets in 2013, said it had seen EBITDA grow by 10% that calendar year.

The privately-owned business said the improvement in EBITDA brought it "close to break-event point at a loss of GBP3.3m" in 2013. Karro's turnover that year stood at GBP533m, although it said it could not disclose a figure for 2012 due to the business being part of the larger Vion. Karro plans to release its 2014 accounts "shortly", it said.

Executive chair Di Walker added the investment was "further evidence that we are well-ahead of our five year turnaround plan, and gives us added capability to develop our strategic retail and trade partnerships and enter new markets".

She said: "The underlying performance of the business continues to gain momentum and we are extremely positive about the outlook for Karro Food Group. We will be in a position to report another year of significant financial improvement when we release our 2014 accounts in the coming months."

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