The AHDB has announced the completion of the sale of the MLCSL for £1.3 million.
For those not up to date with the acronyms of the meat industry, we can elaborate that the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has just sold the carcass classification arm, Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Limited.
Safeguarding meat classification services
Farming Minister George Eustice gave the deal the go-ahead, allowing MLCSL to be sold to Hallmark Veterinary Compliance Services. The money raised by the sale is expected to be reinvested into the pork, lamb, and beef sectors of the UK industry.
The sale had been announced back in March, but it was then delayed when some of the trade bodies of the meat industry released a joint letter in which they asked for a hold on the deal. They wanted a working group to be set up so that it could be investigated further, ensuring that everything was above board and for the best.
Jane King is the Chief Executive of the AHDB. She was positive about the sale, saying: “We believe this move will safeguard the long-term future of independent, manual, carcass classification services in Great Britain. A lot of hard work has gone into this sale from a lot of people and we are pleased we have finally crossed the finishing line. Credit should go to all involved, particularly those who work for MLCSL, and we wish Hallmark all the best as they take MLCSL into a new chapter.”
It appears that those who currently already have food jobs with MLCSL will not see any changes as a result of the sale, as their positions will be left intact – which is certainly good news for them.
Efficiencies and synergies
AHDB released a statement that said: “By moving the business into the private sector with a company that has a strong track record of delivering independent services to the meat industry, it will open up opportunities for greater efficiencies and synergies that would not be possible under the current public ownership model and secure the future of the business.”
Hallmark confirmed that there would be “no disruption in services for customers, with business as usual” being maintained as the deal goes ahead. The 103 staff members in these supply chain jobs will be able to continue coming into work as normal, with no big shifts expected as an immediate result of the change in management.
David Peace is the Chairman of Hallmark Veterinary Services. He said: “We are absolutely delighted with the acquisition of MLCSL, which we believe fits very well with our current operations, to the mutual benefit of both businesses’ future development. MLCSL’s key strengths are its very highly experienced and loyal staff and managers, and we’re very excited about this opportunity to work together, building on MLCSL’s well-acknowledged skills, its powerful brand and expanding its services and reach.”
Sentio Partners were appointed as lead adviser to AHDB on the transaction. Ian Marwood, a partner who worked on the deal alongside Matt Tollefson, said: “Sentio worked with the board of AHDB over a long period to prepare the business for sale, and then to identify suitable companies that met robust criteria set down by the AHDB board. This included value for money, track record of delivering independent services and commitment to the long term future of the business. I am delighted that these objectives have been achieved and that the business can look forward to a successful future.”
It is clear that this has not been a swift decision, or one taken lightly. It can be hoped that this is enough to appease the doubters.