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New owners to invest in Quorn Foods

PUBLISHED: 18:08 07 March 2011

Kevin Brennan, Quorn Foods chief executive, and Clive Sharpe, chairman.

Kevin Brennan, Quorn Foods chief executive, and Clive Sharpe, chairman.

The new owners of meat alternative brand Quorn have announced plans to invest in the business after completing a £205m acquisition.

In January London-based investment firm Exponent Private Equity announced it was buying the Quorn operation of Premier Foods, which has a manufacturing site Methwold.

The sale, which involved the creation of a new international food company, Quorn Foods, completed on Monday, March 7.

Simon Davidson, of Exponent, said the company was planning to build on the reputation of Quorn, the UK’s leading meat alternative name, and Cauldron, the biggest selling tofu brand, including through advertising campaigns and new products.

He said the new owners were also keen to back the growth of Quorn overseas. The product is currently sold in 10 countries worldwide, with a “rapidly growing” business in the US.

The company is based in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, with an additional manufacturing site in Belasis, Teesside.

Simon Davidson of Exponent said: “We have invested in Quorn Foods because of the very prominent position of its brands within the UK market and its strong international growth potential.

“We’re backing the management team’s plans to grow the business in the UK and internationally via investment in advertising and new product development, as well as through capital expenditure and infrastructure improvements.”

Under Exponent’s ownership the management team will continue to be led by Kevin Brennan, former marketing director and general manager at Kellogg’s, who becomes chief executive of the new business.

He will be supported by Clive Sharpe, former chief executive of Golden Wonder, as chairman.

Mr Brennan added: “Quorn Foods new ownership will ensure further investment in this business and the local area to continue to grow our success internationally.”

The Methwold plant, which manufactures Premier’s Cauldron Foods brand and packs Quorn products, employs about 230.

The deal was part of a strategy by Premier to reduce its debt, built up following an acquisition spree that included Hovis owner RHM and Campbell’s Soup in the UK and Ireland.

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