Just days before the Uniq interims to be announced on Monday, Malton Bacon Factory chief executive Max Hilliard announced the closure of the Middlesbrough plant in February with the loss of 450 jobs. Uniq conceded in September that Malton is struggling to meet corporate aspirations ­ and there are few signs of a recovery in the UK pig industry after a two and a half year slump. The closure is blamed on "a lack of economic pigs". Malton still has a killing line at Cookstown, Northern Ireland and Wiveliscombe, Somerset, in addition to its Malton plant. This will represent capacity for over 60,000 pigs a week, or a quarter of the UK kill at current levels, after deducting 10,000 a week once Middlesbrough closes. The firm retains its 20,000 a week Spalding abattoir, which it mothballed three years ago. {{NEWS }}