May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Tom Bristow Business Writer
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Premier Foods has sold its range of East Anglian-made Branston pickles and sauces for £92.5m.
The deal means the firm’s factory in Bury St Edmunds, which makes the pickles, will be taken over by Japanese firm Mizkan next year.
Premier Foods is battling to reduce a debt pile that stood at £1.3billion in June, by selling off its well-known brands.
It hopes to raise £330 million by June 2014 through the deals and is ahead of its target.
The sale to Japan by Premier Foods, which also owns Hovis, Mr Kipling and Bisto, includes other Branston products such as ketchup, relish, salad cream and mayonnaise.
The new Japanese owners bought Premier’s vinegar brand, Sarson’s, and pickles business, Haywards in June.
Chief executive Kazuhide Matazaemon Nakano said: “Branston Sweet Pickle is an iconic brand that has established a market leading position.
“The Branston brand is also an excellent strategic fit with our global portfolio and adds to our solid foundation for growth in the UK.”
Branston, which is named after the village near Burton in Staffordshire where Crosse & Blackwell first produced it in 1922, sells an estimated 28 million jars a year of the pickled relish, which is made to a secret recipe.
Premier acquired the Branston business as part of its acquisition of certain Crosse & Blackwell operations from Nestle in 2002.
Around 350 people who work at Premier’s Bury St Edmunds factory will transfer to Mizkan as part of the proposed deal, which is due to complete early next year.
Norfolk turkey giant Bernard Matthews is in talks to sell a stake in the business.