Tuesday 26 February 2013

Loss of cheese plant devastating to Newcastle Emlyn

The BBC is reporting that the Saputo cheese factory in Newcastle Emlyn is to close with the loss of 70 jobs.

The loss of 70 jobs affecting nearly the same number of local families in a community with a population of around 1,500 will be a devastating blow to the town and the surrounding area, where many local dairy farms supply the factory with milk.

We have been here before, and the factory has changed owners several times in the last few years. Only a couple of years ago there were allegations that the previous owners had been syphoning off profits from the factory to subsidise other parts of the group of companies.

Saputo specialises in mozzarella, used mainly in the manufacture of pizza, although recently the company has started diversifying into other products, including marscapone made from cream.

The factory's Canadian owners now say that the plant is not profitable and are seeking to close it.

The scale of the job losses may not seem that serious set against what has happened in other parts of Wales, but the loss of what is overwhelmingly the town's largest employer and the largest customer of quite a number of local dairy farms will have disastrous consequences in an area where there is very little alternative employment.

The best hope is that the Welsh Government will step in and explore whether the factory could have a long term future as a cooperative venture. There are some great local cheese producers in the area, which lends itself to dairying. Surely we can build on that strength?


Lesley said...

You will no doubt be reassured to hear that, at this morning's council meeting, Cllr Madge declared that he will be doing everything to ensure that jobs in Carmarthenshire are protected and, indeed, created.

Anonymous said...

are these firms just milking any sweet deals offered by Carmarthen/welsh assembly?

Cneifiwr said...

Anon - the Welsh Assembly turned them down for a £2 million diversification grant.

Lesley - well at least that's the hot air supply sorted.

Anonymous said...

The Welsh Assembly did give the factory a 7 fugure sum when Carwyn Jones was Agri Minister. The owner was an Egyptian by the name of Sulliman who was wanted in Kuwait for fraud and had been sentenced to prison in his absence (well, he had fled the country to the UK). They then managed to get this money from Cardiff Bay and before running up massive debts in the Newcastle Emlyn area (including with butchers, building supplies companies, newspaper shop, bakers, hauliers) and ruining the dairy business and owing many farmers massive sums of money (I know of one owed around 100k) they absconded and believed to have fled to Argentina. What's strange is, a google search would have revealed all before giving them any money. They say thought that with money it's a case of 'easy come, easy go'.

johnsouthwales said...

2009 - ccc - questions about the company's profit and market still remain unanswered.

The company makes mozzarella, and bought the site after previous owners Dansco went into administration in 2007.

The company, which has its headquarters in Montreal, is also closing a factory in Germany with immediate effect.

"Since acquiring the businesses [in Wales and Germany], Saputo has aimed to penetrate the European market... the Saputo European business does not have sufficient critical mass to be profitable..

caernarfon creameries have shown an interest in aquiring the milk supplied... that is half the problem solved but doesn't solve the rest as that is around 20% of the local employment.

if they were concentrating on europe, that doesn't sound too good as you can't really get more centralised than germany, but they have closed it immediately and no mention whatsoever regarding relocating, and it's a full closure.

manufacturing mozzarella, mozarella&cheddar blend, pizza topping.

Saputo’s $1.45-billion acquisition of Morningstar Foods will put Canada’s largest dairy processor in a position of strength should the country’s food supply management system ever be dismantled. Saputo has proven it is one of the leading operators in the world so they’re likely to do well; but in the short-term, there is going to be an impact as cheaper milk and cheese products come into Canada,”

Mr. Saputo said the company is looking to grow more in the U.S. and in other regions of the world including Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Saputo already has divisions in Argentina and Europe.

johnsouthwales said...

lets hope Glanbia takes over...