UK: Princes seals Premier Foods canning acquisition

By Petah Marian | 25 July 2011

Princes has completed the acquisition of Premier Foods plc's East Anglian canning operations.

The transaction, worth GBP182m (US$296.4m), will include two major UK canning sites at Long Sutton and Wisbech in East Anglia, as well as a number of brands including Cross & Blackwell, Farrow's and Smedley's.

The deal was first announced in February and secured approval from the Office of Fair Trading in June. However, the OFT said Premier's Fray Bentos would have to be sold to protect competition in the canned pie sector.

The Fray Bentos business will be run on an independent basis from Princes until the company finds a buyer.

A Princes spokesperson told just-food that the company would be looking to complete the sale of the Fray Bentos business in the next "few months".

As part of the deal, brands including Branston and Batchelors will remain under Premier's ownership but manufacturing of products at Long Sutton and Wisbech will be licensed to Princes. Products covered by the licensing contract includes Branston baked beans and Batchelors canned soups.

Princes said the acquisition "significantly expands" its portfolio of branded and own-label products in the canned foods sector. Following the completion of the acquisition, Princes has annual revenues approaching GBP1.5bn, 4,500 staff, 13 food and drink production sites and a "portfolio of leading brands".

"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," said Princes managing director Ken Critchley.

Sectors: Canned food, Cereal, Condiments, dressings & sauces, Dried foods, Mergers & acquisitions

Companies: Princes, Premier Foods plc

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