A MOTHBALLED abattoir regarded as important to the rural economy of Pembrokeshire is to reopen under new ownership.

The facility, formerly run by Emcol Ltd, which went into administration in 2015 owing more than £700,000, has been bought by Carmarthenshire businessman David Davies.

Mr Davies, who established Cambrian Pet Foods in 1982 and has sites at Pencader and Llangadog, plans to reopen the Withybush Industrial Estate-based abattoir in January.

Although the new owner will need to work hard to regain the trust of farmers who lost money following the financial collapse of the previous owner, there is confidence that Mr Davies’ long and successful association with the meat industry will provide a stable future for the new business.

NFU Cymru farm policy adviser Peter Howells said it had the potential to be a “massive asset’’ for Pembrokeshire.

“There is clearly a demand for an abattoir in Pembrokeshire, to provide opportunities for farmers and local butchers to add value,’’ said Mr Howells.

The abattoir will also provide Cambrian Pet Foods with a ready supply of meat for its products.

It could also be a good fit for a major new food park planned for the Withybush Industrial Estate.

Mr Davies plans to grow the scale of his venture slowly, anticipating a low throughput initially and gradually increasing numbers of animals slaughtered.

He told farmers at a meeting of the Pembrokeshire branch of NFU Cymru that the business would operate on a combination of four key principles – trust, quality, value and price.

His research had shown that there was a sufficient supply base in west Wales to support a locally-based abattoir.

There is likely to be investment needed to bring the abattoir in line with Food Standards Agency regulations.