Influential MP calls for pensions probe into sale of turkey business

William Turvill
Follow William
California Turkey Farm Raises Mainstay Of Thanksgiving Dinner
Bernard Matthews is expected to be sold by Rutland Partners to Ranjit Boparan’s 2 Sisters Food Group (Source: Getty)

Frank Field, who chairs the influential Work and Pensions Select Committee, has called on the Pensions Regulator to probe the takeover of turkey producer Bernard Matthews by Ranjit Boparan.

The Labour MP is concerned that the deal will see Bernard Matthews’ retirement scheme absorbed by industry-funded lifeboat, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

Read more: Turkey producer on the hunt for bootiful new owner

Field told City A.M.: “[My concerns] are that we’ve got a company’s ownership being exchanged and the new owner’s cutting loose and making the pension scheme orphaned.

“And I think the Pensions Regulator should be quite tough on whether that’s acceptable, because otherwise the fund is kicked down to the PPF.”

Sky News first reported that Field had made the call, with the deal expected to be finalised as soon as Tuesday. Bernard Matthews’ defined benefit scheme is believed to have a deficit of around £16m and approximately 750 members.

Read more: Why it's time for "long-term fintech"

The deal will involve Bernard Matthews being sold by current private equity owner Rutland Partners to Boparan’s poultry empire, 2 Sisters Food Group.

Field has led demands for Sir Philip Green to plug the hole in the BHS pension scheme.