Bernard Matthews in hunt for £10m rescue

Adam Hignett
Livestock was hit by avian flu in 2007, resulting in heavy losses at the firm
Struggling poultry supplier Bernard Matthews is seeking £10m in order to stay afloat just 16 months after being rescued by a private equity firm.

The company has been trying to stem losses ever since 2007 when its stock of birds was struck by avian flu.

Bernard Matthews was thrown a life-line by private equity investors Rutland Partners in 2013 when it pumped £25m into the firm which by that point was £18m in the red.

The firm has also suffered in recent years from high feed costs and an oversupply of stock, a situation which was particularly acute around Christmas 2013.

Rutland is said to be using Litmus, a company which specialises in raising debt funding, in order to seek out investors or backers. However, it could be on the hook for the money itself if no one can be found.

The East Anglian based company employs over 2,000 people on 56 farms in the UK, with an additional 900 staff in Germany and Hungary. However, it has been forced to make redundancies in recent years.

This year the company reduced its losses to £9.9m. It said at the time of publishing the accounts that the narrowing losses were the result of “headcount reduction, favourable feed costs and rationalisation of factory sites.”

The company grew to prominence under founder Bernard Matthews’ high profile “bootiful” advertising campaign in the 1980s.

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