Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Hall's of Broxburn factory bidder criticises Vion over closure

Media captionAbout 1,700 people work at Hall's of Broxburn

One of the companies which failed in a bid to save the Hall's of Broxburn factory has criticised Dutch owner Vion over the closure.

The managing director of Graf Mortgage Corporation said it had come up with a seven-figure sum to buy the plant, which would have saved 1,200 jobs.

Steve Green said he was not given a proper chance to save the factory and that closure could have been avoided.

However, Vion said it had not been given enough information about the bid.

The decision to close the West Lothian factory leaves 1,700 people out of work.

A phased shutdown will begin later this month, with the plant shutting its doors in February 2013.

Vion Food Group bought the Broxburn plant in August 2008 from Grampian Country Food Group, which had been in financial difficulties for several years.

Mr Green said he was "furious" at the closure, and claimed Vion "never had any intention whatsoever of selling this business".

"It was apparent right from the outset. There were no lawyers involved, there were no accountants involved," he said.

"They would not give us due diligence, they would not allow us to have access to the site.

"It's been a charade at the expense of Scottish jobs."

However, a spokesman for Vion said Graf Mortgage Corporation had not "provided clarity" on its offer, even though Vion was prepared to offer "substantial financial assistance" to support the purchase.

"We had endeavoured to obtain further detail from Mr Green to support Graf Mortgage Corporation's plan and allow us to assess its viability to ensure the long-term security of employment for the workforce," said the spokesman.

"Regrettably, the necessary information had not been forthcoming and, as a result, we were forced to assume that Graf Mortgage Corporation could not be viewed as a credible bidder.

"Vion was fully prepared to give consideration and significant financial assistance to Graf Mortgage Corporation's offer but, without the necessary financial information regarding both the turnaround plan for the business and proof of funding to effect this turnaround, it has been impossible to progress their proposal.

"This was a particularly disappointing outcome since the indication that Graf Mortgage Corporation would present a viable and sustainable business plan for the business had undoubtedly raised hopes amongst our employees."

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