Sentio advises AHDB on sale of carcass classification arm


Sentio Partners has advised the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) on the sale of its carcass classification arm.

Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Limited (MLCSL) has been acquired by Hallmark Veterinary Compliance Services (purchased through parent company Vorenta Ltd) to help safeguard the future of classification services across Great Britain.

The deal was approved by farming minister George Eustice and completed on 30 November 2018. It was first proposed in March and has completed following consultation with industry, with an oversight committee now to be established to ensure independence and value for money in the services at abattoirs across the country.

By moving the business into the private sector with a company that has a strong track record of delivering independent services to the meat industry, it will open up opportunities for greater efficiencies and synergies that would not be possible under the current public ownership model and secure the future of the business. In total, 103 staff will be affected by the move but there is not expected to be any jobs lost or disruption in services for customers.

Jane King, AHDB chief executive, said: “We believe this move will safeguard the long-term future of independent, manual, carcase classification services in Great Britain. A lot of hard work has gone into this sale from a lot of people and we are pleased we have finally crossed the finishing line. Credit should go to all involved, particularly those who work for MLCSL, and we wish HallMark all the best as they take MLCSL into a new chapter.”

David Peace, Chairman of Hallmark, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the acquisition of MLCSL, which we believe fits very well with our current operations, to the mutual benefit of both businesses’ future development. MLCSL’s key strengths are its very highly experienced and loyal staff and managers, and we’re very excited about this opportunity to work together, building on MLCSL’s well-acknowledged skills, its powerful brand and expanding its services and reach.”

Sentio Partners acted as lead adviser to AHDB on the transaction. Partner Ian Marwood, who worked on the deal alongside Matt Tollefson, said: “Sentio worked with the board of AHDB over a long period to prepare the business for sale, and then to identify suitable companies that met robust criteria set down by the AHDB board. This included value for money, track record of delivering independent services and commitment to the long-term future of the business. I am delighted that these objectives have been achieved and that the business can look forward to a successful future.”

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