POTENTIAL buyers are being sought for a closure-threatened meat processing plant while talks continue with the current owners, Finance Secretary John Swinney has said.
Vion Food UK is consulting on the future of its Hall's of Broxburn factory in West Lothian, putting about 1700 jobs at risk.
The factory employs 1150 permanent and 595 agency staff. It is a major processing plant for Scottish pork used to make sausages and other meat products, handling about 8000 pigs each week.
Mr Swinney said: "The Government can't acquire companies like this, but what we can do is engage in dialogue with a range of parties that would have an interest in the plant.
"Clearly, Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise are pursuing that discussion in the market place with the objective of encouraging different players who could run this plant profitably and successfully."
Mr Swinney convened the second "taskforce" meeting in Broxburn to take stock of developments almost one month after the owners announced a 90-day consultation.
The factory is said to be losing about £79,000 a day, desp
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, who was also at the meeting, said: "We want to see, as do pig farmers, Scottish pigs spending all their lives in Scotland and that the pork that appears on shop shelves in Scotland is wholly produced in this country."
Advice is being given by the Government to the company on how to reduce its costs, he said.
In a statement, Alasdair Cox, director of corporate affairs at Vion, said employees are being given weekly updates.
"We have also maintained regular contact with the Scottish Government and today's meeting of the taskforce team has provided the opportunity for further discussion with senior politicians," he said.