Global meat giant Vion is to exit the UK altogether and retreat to its core markets of the Netherlands and Germany.

The news follows reports over the weekend that the company was looking to sell its poultry operations as well as its red meat concerns, excluding pork.

This afternoon, Vion confirmed that it intended to sell its UK pork, beef, lamb and poultry businesses, which will see it dispose of 38 sites, employing 13,000 people, across the UK.

“Dutch-based food producer Vion NV has announced it has embarked on a process to sell its UK food businesses to concentrate on its core markets in the Netherlands and Germany and the development of its global ingredients business,” the company said in a statement.

Chairman of Vion UK, Peter Barr, said the company had already started detailed discussions with a number of interested parties, including management. “The level of interest in the businesses has been strong and we hope to be in a position in the near future to give further details about the progress which has been made.” The sale process would be completed in a smooth and orderly fashion to ensure business continuity, he added.