Coldstore sell-off worries growers

Dundee-based major processing plant calls in adminstrators

Growers in Scotland have expressed concern after a major processing and freezing plant called in administrators. Alpine Foods, based in Dundee, has called in administrator BDO Stoy Hayward, which has laid off 11 of the 30 staff and is now looking to sell the business. The plant is a major outlet in the central Scotland area for growers of peas and beans, with many relying on it to handle their produce. According to workers at the plant, more than 21,000 tonnes of peas and beans were processed and frozen at the plant last year. The administration and proposed sale has not affected Alpine Foods’ main plant in Grimsby, which is working normally. Managing director Alistair Ewan of vegetable-growing co-op East of Scotland Growers (EOSG) told local media that the plant was one of the best in the country. He said: “EOSG has made other arrangements for processing vegetables for 2007, but we believe the Dundee coldstore is a very important asset for the future. I hope some assistance will be forthcoming from the Scottish Executive to help retain the facility.” Ewan added that he thought such a modern plant would be attractive to prospective buyers, either in the UK or the EU. A number of parties are understood to have expressed an interest in buying the business. Since 2001, the company has been granted more than £1.5m in Scottish Executive support to expand its processing lines. No one was available for comment from the company at the Grimsby headquarters.

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