MP raises prospect of monopoly after bid to save Cheshire CO2 plant rejected

An MP has raised the prospect of a monopoly after a bid to save a CO2 factory in Cheshire was rejected.

The former head of the army, Lord Dunnatt, led the UK Nitrogen consortium in a bid to buy the facility, which is capable of producing a significant proportion of the country’s CO2.

The gas, a byproduct of the factory’s fertilizer production, is critical to preserving fresh produce and salads, and is used in carbonated beverages.

No go: The rejection of the offer raised fears that US-based owner CF Industries may avoid a sale to ensure there is no competition for the remaining plant.

Any deal for the Ince plant, which was announced to be closing last month, could save more than 300 jobs and protect Britain’s carbon footprint.

But the rejection of the offer raised fears that US-based owner CF Industries may avoid the sale to ensure there is no competition for the remaining plant.

CF Industries plans to keep its CO2 factory in Billingham, Teesside, running after receiving a £10m government bailout last year.

Labor MP Justin Madders, whose constituency includes Ince, said: “I and many staff are concerned that there is no real incentive to sell to someone who will become a competitor.

“The government should consider the risk of a major component of our food being limited to just one factory in the hands of foreign owners.

“There is a risk of creating a monopoly situation that will further push up food prices.”

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