Meat Plant made £500K loss

The Isle of Man Meat Plant, Tromode

The Isle of Man Meat Plant, Tromode

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The loss made by the meat plant rose to more than half a million pounds in 2015, figures released following a Freedom of Information request show.

But the trading results of the government-owned abattoir for 2016 remain under wraps, with officials claiming their disclosure could fuel ‘unhelpful speculation’.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture had initially refused to release any details of the plant’s trading performance, claiming the figures were ‘commercially sensitive’.

Isle of Man Newspapers then submitted an FoI request, pointing out that the figures for profit/loss for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 were available in a report on Livestock Pricing by Isle of Man Meats that had been published on the DEFA’s own website.

Now we’ve had a response back which reveals the 2015 trading results – although our request for the 2016 figures has been refused.

The DEFA said the 2015 figures were released at the recent AGM of the Isle of Man Fatstock Marketing Association and so are now in the public domain.

They show that the meat plant made a loss of £1,220,441, reduced to £587,941 after payment of the government subsidy of £632,000. The loss is more than five times that of £115,440 made the previous year when the subsidy was £610,000.

The meat plant made a loss of £86,604 in 2012 after payment of a subvention of £680,754.

This became a loss of £44,111 the following year, despite the taxpayer subsidy increasing to £900,000.

The DEFA said details of the plant’s trading results in 2016 will not be released until the Fatstock Marketing Association’s 2017 AGM, which is usually held in late spring or early summer.

Explaining the decision not to disclose the figures, the department said releasing unaudited figures would be misleading.

It said the plant’s operation is currently under review, a review that will be concluded in the first quarter of this year.

‘Release of this information may fuel unnecessary speculation both within and outside the farming industry, which would be very unhelpful at this time,’ it said.

The DEFA said there was no guarantee that the government-funded subvention would continue.

Isle of Man Newspapers’ FoI request also asked for figures for throughput.

The DEFA’s response included details up to and including 2016. There were 4,698 cattle slaughtered at the plant last year, up from 4,429 the previous year but this was well down from the 5,914 in 2014. The number of sheep was down significantly from 52,794 in 2015 to 35,697 in 2016.

Throughput of pigs was also down from 3,070 in 2015 to 2,577 last year.

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