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News 1850 views update:Mar 9, 2016

UK turkey giant seeks further financial backing

Bernard Matthews, the UK-based turkey breeder is looking for £10 million of new financing to help fund its turnaround battle, just 18 months after being rescued by new backers.

The company, which was saved in 2013 by private equity firm Rutland Partners, has never fully recovered from the avian flu outbreak of 2007, which resulted in a huge hit to profits after thousands of birds had to be destroyed.

Rutland finally stepped in as the company came close to collapse and this was the first time that any outside investors had been brought into the business. That year, Bernard Matthews slumped £18m into the red, having posted a pre-tax profit of £3.3m during the previous 12 months. Turnover also fell sharply from £346.3m to £306.8m.

Fierce supermarket competition

The firm has struggled under increased feed costs, pressure to keep prices at rock bottom amid fierce supermarket competition, and an oversupply of stock on the run-up to Christmas 2013.

Employing 2,200 people in East Anglia, Bernard Matthews has 56 farms which rear 7m birds a year. It remains Britain's biggest turkey producer and has a further 900 staff in German and Hungary.

World Poultry

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