One week after Asda pulled its fresh lamb contract from Vion’s Welsh Country Foods business, speculation is mounting the business has been picked up by Dunbia.

Vion announced last week it was looking to close down Welsh Country Foods because of the loss of the Asda contract, and launched a 90-day consultation with unions and the 350 staff.

Asda refused to say who it has switched its lamb supply contract to, but sources from the red meat industry said Dunbia was the obvious candidate.

“Dunbia is the only company that would have the volume of lamb to fulfil the Asda order,” said one senior source, while a second source described Dunbia as “the name everyone is talking about”. Dunbia itself declined to comment.

The potential closure of Welsh Country Foods - which currently processes about 16% of all Welsh lamb [HCC] - has sparked concerns about the future of Welsh lamb farming as well as that of promotions body HCC, which would lose levy fees if Welsh Country Foods’ business moved outside Wales. However, Dunbia has two lamb-handling plants in Wales in addition to sites in the rest of the UK.