Wales-Abattoir sold for Halal production

Wales – Rafique is Back!

CAERNARFON’S troubled abattoir is in new hands after a sale was agreed with a wealthy Irish-Pakistani family.

Ireland-based Sher Foods has bought the former Cig Cibyn slaughterhouse for an undisclosed amount.

The deal was secured by administrators CLB Coopers and Gwynedd County Council.

Sher Foods plan a major upgrade of buildings on the Cibyn industrial
estate and to overhaul working practices in a move to improve

This work will take place over the next few weeks with a view to full
production and trading returning to the site as soon as possible.

It is thought that initially the plant will be run by a reduced workforce of about 15 staff as it re-establishes itself.

Coun Dewi Lewis, of Gwynedd Council said:Š”We are very pleased that
this important facility will re-open for use in the near future.Š

“As a council we have worked closely with the administrators to ensure
a viable future for the abattoir so that it can serve the area’s food
producers, and provide much-needed employment opportunities for local

“Gwynedd Council welcomes Sher Foods and looks forward to working with them in the future.”

Sher Foods is run by Arfan Sher Rafique, son of Sher Mohammad Rafique
who established United Meat Packers in the 1970s and at one time
operated a slaughter facility at Gaerwen, Anglesey (see panel at end).

Letters outlining the sale are being sent to Cig Cibyn creditors this week.

Joint administrator Mark Getliffe said efforts are continuing to realise assets, particularly book debts.

“We’re hopeful that we will be paying a dividend to the unsecured creditors before the end of the year,” he said.

Gwynedd Watkin, of the Farmers Union of Wales, said the move that will
help maintain the competitiveness of animal rearing in the region.

“We desperately need an abattoir operating again in Caernarfon,” he said.

lTHE new owner is the son of a remarkable post-war immigrant from Pakistan.

Sher Mohammad Rafique, who arrived at Liverpool in the mid 1950s,
started out as a humble bus conductor in Bradford before creating
Ireland’s fourth largest private business.

After training as an accountant, in the early1 970s he bought an
abattoir in in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, selling halal meat, slaughtered
according to Muslim traditions, to the Middle East.

Over the next two decades, his company, United Meat Packers (UMP),
became one of the world’s top ten lamb and beef meat traders.

The first cracks emerged during the first Gulf war, when key export markets were embargoed by UN sanctions.

The final blow dealt came in 1992 when a discarded cigarette started a
fire which destroyed UMP’s new factory. UMP estimated the damage at