AHDB completes £1.3 million sale of MLCSL

A total of £1.3 million will be reinvested in the beef and lamb and pork sectors as the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) announces it has completed the sale of its carcase classification arm.

AHDB said it was selling Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Limited (MLCSL) to help safeguard the future of classification services across Great Britain.

The successful buyer was HallMark Veterinary Compliance Services, which purchased the firm through its parent company Vorenta.

The deal was approved by Farming Minister George Eustice and completed on Friday, November 30.

The move was first announced in March and, since then, there has been significant consultation with industry, with an oversight committee now to be established to ensure independence and value for money in the services at abattoirs across the country.

Jane King, AHDB chief executive, said: “We believe this move will safeguard the long-term future of independent, manual, carcase 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.”

No job losses

In total, 103 staff will be affected by the move but no job losses are expected. There will be no disruption in services for customers with “business as usual” being maintained as part of the deal.

David Peace, chairman of Hallmark, 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.”

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, an AHDB spokesman said it was hoped the business could open up opportunities for greater efficiencies that would not be possible under its current public ownership model, securing the future of the business.

A year-long process was undertaken to identify suitable companies that met robust criteria set down by the AHDB Board, including value for money, a track record of delivering independent services and commitment to the long-term future of the business.