MORRISONS is to strengthen its manufacturing arm with the acquisition of a 105,000 sq ft meat processing facility in Cheshire.
The site is currently used for packing fresh pork and lamb and Morrisons said the plant has the capacity to expand into beef and increase its overall production.
Bradford-based Morrisons said the acquisition will boost its capacity and give it greater control over the quality of meat products sold in store.
The supermarket chain is one of the largest fresh food manufacturers in the UK, employing over 7,000 people.
The acquisition means that over 300 jobs at the facility in Winsford, Cheshire, will be secured and Morrisons said there is potential for new jobs over the next year as the business grows.
This acquisition is the latest in a number of transactions to strengthen Morrisons’ manufacturing capabilities.
Morrisons plans to invest £200m over a three-year period to support the growth of the business.
It bought Derby-based FlowerWorld, a specialist cut flowers business, last year as part of this plan.
Martyn Fletcher, Morrisons’ group manufacturing director, said: “Owning the manufacturing sites that produce our fresh food is crucial to Morrisons because it ensures we can control quality and keep down costs for our customers.
“As Morrisons continues to grow, it is important we have the facilities to support us.
“This facility is a high-quality, purpose-built meat processing factory and will be an ideal addition to the manufacturing sites we already own.”
Morrisons is the UK’s fourth largest food retailer with 476 stores.
Its business is mainly food and grocery.
It sources and processes most of the fresh food that it sells through its own manufacturing facilities, giving it close control over provenance and quality. The group sells only 100 per cent British fresh beef, lamb, pork and poultry and it has more people, including butchers, bakers and fishmongers, preparing food in store than any other retailer.
It owns a number of bakeries, meat processing facilities and produce packing factories.