UK regulator investigating ForFarmers deal

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is seeking comment on ForFarmers UK's planned purchase of Bowerings Animal Feeds.

In December 2018, ForFarmers UK announced it had agreed to acquire that animal feed player, which is based in Bridgwater in Somerset.

Bowerings sells around 27,000 tons of feed to organic and conventional farmers in the dairy, beef, sheep, pig and poultry sectors throughout the South West.  

The CMA​ has asked whether the deal will result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK.

The deadline for feedback is early next month, April 3 2019.

Steven Read, COO of ForFarmers UK, commenting in December, said the company could improve its offering to both organic and conventional farmers by acquiring Bowerings. “The addition of the organic part of the business allows us to develop further in this specialized and growing market. The purchase follows ForFarmers’ recent acquisition in the Netherlands of Van Gorp Biologische Voeders, also a specialist in the Organic Feed market.”

UK feed mill closure

Meanwhile, in February, ForFarmers said it was set to close its site in Blandford, Dorset, in the second quarter of 2019, with the loss of 30 jobs.  A spokesperson for the Dutch compound feed group said it has begun the consultation process with which it “will continue to support all affected employees throughout”​ the process.

ForFarmers UK currently operates 15 manufacturing sites, both production and blending mills. The company said the divestment of the Blandford site was in line with its previously announced objective to optimize its supply chain in the UK, both in terms of modernizing existing mills and in its site footprint.

In terms of when that streamlining effort will be finalized, the spokesperson for ForFarmers told this publication: “In 2017, we announced the intention to reduce costs by GBP £5m (US$6.4m) in the UK by 2020. We have also announced that the challenge we faced in the summer of 2017 to improve our service reliability, following a disruption due to a shortage of drivers in the market, has led to some delay of the plan … we are constantly working to increase efficiency and reduce cost."

The Blandford site, one of the older ForFarmers UK sites, would require significant modifications to modernize it and improve its efficiency, it explained.  

The company said that the feed volume currently manufactured by the Blandford mill will be transferred to its facilities in Exeter and Portbury.

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