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AHDB in talks to privatize Meat and Livestock Commercial Services

FBR Staff Writer Published 13 March 2018

UK-based Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is in advanced discussions to sell Meat and Livestock Commercial Services (MLCSL) to HallMark Veterinary Compliance Services.

MLCSL, the commercial subsidiary of the levy board, offers carcass classification services to abattoirs in the UK.

AHDB said that the proposed sale will help it secure the future of MLCSL and also of independent classification services for farmers across the UK amid a challenging business environment.

The levy board said the move was in response to a challenging business environment and the need to respond to new technology like VIA.

AHDB reckons that by shifting MLCSL into the private sector, more opportunities will be created for it, resulting in greater efficiencies and synergies, that are otherwise not possible under the existing public ownership model.

The board has taken a year to shortlist suitable companies to buy the MLCSL business. One of the parameters in its selection criteria is that the buyer should have track record of providing independent verification services to the meat industry.

AHDB chief executive Jane King said: “In selecting the final bidder, the AHDB Board put a strong emphasis on HallMark’s track record of delivering independent services for Government and the meat industry as it is essential that farmers continue to have confidence in the classification services supplied by MLCSL in the future.”

The levy board has closed in on HallMark following a bidding process featuring various interested parties.

HallMark chairman David Peace said: “As a key contractor to government departments for statutory farm inspections and Official Controls in abattoirs, we pride ourselves on HallMark’s independence, integrity and expertise.

“It is therefore clear to us that MLCSL’s outstanding reputation in all these regards will help us to further strengthen our own position, as well as fulfil our overall strategic objective to diversify and grow our operational capacity towards ever-improving efficiencies for our customers.”

AHDB, which is now in the final phase of negotiations with the compliance and veterinary solutions provider, hopes that the deal will be closed by summer.

Photo: MLCSL is an independent provider of abattoir authentication and classification services in the UK. Photo: courtesy of savit keawtavee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.