December 20 2014 Latest news:
By Shaun Lowthorpe, Business editor
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Food and drink group Princes has launched a £4m campaign to promote the British heritage of its iconic Crosse & Blackwell brand – which has been made in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire for more than 190 years.
Founded in 1819, Crosse & Blackwell is a household brand and the majority of its products are produced by factories in Long Sutton and Wisbech, which employ more than 1,000 staff.
Princes bought the brand and factories from Premier Foods for £181m last year. The business is now investing in a brand relaunch and three new ranges, which centres on Crosse & Blackwell’s British roots and the fact that many ingredients are sourced from local growers and producers.
The news comes as Princes enjoyed record sales of £1.51bn in the year to March 31 2012.
The company, whose other brands include Farrow’s, Smedley’s and Branston grew sales by 28pc during the year (from £1.18bn in 2011) and generated pre-tax profits of £31.1m, up 13pc increase on the previous year (£27.6m).
Princes also made significant progress during the year with its strategy of expansion in continental European and international markets, increasing sales outside of the UK by 26pc to £388m.
In May it completed a transaction to create a new company in Italy that acquired one of the most modern and efficient ambient tomato processing facilities in Europe, a 120,000 sq metre processing factory in southern Italy that employs up to 1,200 people at its seasonal peak.
The new business, which is 51pc owned by Princes, is expected to contribute to the group’s plans to double the size of its continental European revenues over the next five years.
The Princes Group now employs more than 6,000 people, operates 14 major food and drink production sites and is on target to achieve annual sales of £2bn.
Ken Critchley, Princes managing director, said: “Princes made excellent progress during the last financial year by delivering a strategic plan which is focused on achieving UK and international growth by investing in our brands, our production and supply capabilities, forming new strategic partnerships and opening new customer markets.
“We have successfully integrated our newly-acquired operations and brands into the group and are benefiting from the early investment we have made into new product and brand development.”
Question marks surround the fate of several development projects in and around King’s Lynn after the developers behind the project went into administration.