Jobs safe as factories take-over is in the can

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LEADING food company Princes has acquired the canning operations of Premier Foods.

The acquisition includes the two major UK canning sites at Long Sutton and Wisbech, along with a number of brands including Crosse & Blackwell, Farrow’s and Smedley’s. The sites collectively employ over 1,000 people and they will be transferred to Princes under employment regulations.

A number of Premier Foods’ brands, including Branston and Batchelors, will remain under Premier Foods’ ownership but are being licensed to Princes on a long-term arrangement for the manufacture of specific products at Long Sutton and Wisbech. These include Branston baked beans and Batchelors canned soups.

The Fray Bentos brand, business and certain manufacturing assets will be sold by Princes following the acquisition as part of undertakings made by the company to the Office of Fair Trading. Until this divestment takes place, the Fray Bentos business will be run on an independent basis from Princes.

The acquisition significantly expands Princes’ portfolio of branded and customer own label products in the canned foods sector.

The products produced at Long Sutton and Wisbech are sold to customers in the retail, food service and industrial sectors.

Ken Critchley, Princes Managing Director, said: “This acquisition is an excellent strategic fit for our group and will enable us to further grow our business in the UK and continental Europe by offering our customers a broader range of ambient food products and brands.”

A company spokesman said the aim now is to grow the business on both sites.