Princes expands canned food operations

UK-based Princes has completed the acquisition of Premier Foods’ East Anglian canning operations.

The acquisition includes two major UK canning sites at Long Sutton and Wisbech in East Anglia, along with a number of brands including Crosse & Blackwell, Farrow’s and Smedley’s. The sites collectively employ more than 1,000 people.

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.

Following completion of the acquisition, Princes has annual revenues approaching £1.5bn, 4,500 employees, 13 food and drink production sites and a portfolio of leading brands.

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.”

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