As results day at Uniq approaches, the future of Malton, the ball and chain around the food and logistics group's ankles, continues to preoccupy analysts. But precisely what ought to be done with the troubled pig processor remains a bone of contention. Forecasts for Malton's losses for the half year to September 30 range from £3m to £6m. "Of course they should get rid of it," said one analyst. "But they don't want to give it away." Another said: "Theoretically, it can make a reasonable amount of money. But from making £25m a few years back to losing millions now, shareholders are running out of patience." The future is not bright for Malton. As Nicola Mallard at CCF Charterhouse said: "The gap between UK and European pig prices is not closing and Malton's still being squeezed." And buyers aren't queuing up to get their hands on the bacon firm. "They could be looking at below asset value," said David Hallam at Williams de Broe. A bid for Hazlewood to boost the more attractive convenience food operation is probably not on the cards. Demerging Wincanton, Uniq's successful logistics business, integrating recent acquisitions from Danone, plus general restructuring make a major purchase "pretty unlikely" at this stage, said Mallard. Indeed, fending off a takeover bid might become a more pressing concern should a disgruntled private equity firm, failing to get its hands on Hazlewood, look elsewhere. "Once Wincanton goes, things could get hairy," noted one observer. The shares are languishing at just over 200p from August highs of 260p. Pre-tax profits for the half year are forecast around £25m. {{NEWS }}