Danish bacon processor Tulip will invest up to £50m in upgrading its British factories this year, according to MD Carsten Jacobsen.

He denied that the business was under pressure from other pigmeat importers and said Tulip was looking to build market share. "We have not finished expanding yet," he said. "You can expect us to make further acquisitions focusing on our core pigmeat business."

Tulip wants to close its Thetford bacon line and move production to Cornwall and it is in consultation with the 400 staff that would lose their jobs as well as the T&G, which spent the weekend trying to drum up local opposition to the closure.

"Thetford is an old factory - we've operated it for 40 years. It's important to close it to remain competitive," said Jacobsen.

Inward investment would create extra jobs at the company's other sites, particularly in Cornwall and its West Midlands retail packing operation, he added.