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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 16:36 GMT
Troubled pig firm is wound up
Pigs footage
Scotpigs had faced allegations of ill-treatment of animals
A long-running feud between pig farm bosses in Aberdeenshire has led to their company being wound up.

Scotpigs Ltd had been plagued by debts, disease and allegations of ill-treatment of animals for years.

A judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh has now ordered the appointment of provisional liquidators.

A spokesman for Scotpigs said the decision was "very disappointing" and an appeal would be sought after consultations with lawyers.

Judge Lady Paton's decision on Tuesday had followed a court move by director James Innes from Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

Mr Innes was a customer of a long-established pig breeding business run by members of Arthur Simmers' family until it ran into cash troubles in the 1990s.

He pumped in new money to rescue the business by buying land which was then leased back to the new company, Scotpigs.

COMPANY DEBTS
300,000 in back rent
51,000 for bought animals
61,000 in stamp duty
1.4m in tax
800,000 to banks
But his lawyers told Lady Paton that the company owed Mr Innes so much money that it should be wound up.

It was claimed the debts included 300,000 in back rent, 51,000 for buying animals and more than 61,000 in stamp duty.

Scotpigs was also said to owe 1.4m to the taxman, 800,000 to bankers and "significant sums" to other creditors.

The other director, Arthur Simmers from Whiterashes, Aberdeenshire, resisted the move, claiming that sums which Mr Innes owed to the company amounted to more than the company owed him.

In the past the Simmers family had made unsuccessful attempts to sack Mr Innes as a director, and an attempt to buy him out also failed.

'Securing the future'

It has not been a good few months for Scotpigs. In December last year it was thrown out of the Quality Meat Scotland Scheme after criticisms of its "inadequate standards" of animal health.

But a spokesman for Scotpigs said after the court ruling that he believed the company could continue in business and was "intent on securing the future of the workforce and farms."

The spokesman said: "What makes this decision all the more frustrating is that we are only 10 working days away from refinancing the business and buying Mr Innes' share outright and removing him as a director.

"We have secured a large capital investment, which allows us to clear all of our debts and make a fresh start on 31 March.

"This is a very good deal for everyone who wants Scotpigs to continue as a business as opposed to those who would wish to liquidate the company for their own personal gain."


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Reporting Scotland's Colin Wight
"The court ordered the appointment of provisional liquidators"



SEE ALSO:
Pig farmer cut from quality scheme
05 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Farm loses meat industry backing
09 Apr 02  |  Scotland
Watchdog's beef over meat advert
06 Mar 02  |  Scotland
New vision for farming industry
26 Jun 01  |  Scotland


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