2 Sisters Food Group could close its Elkes Biscuits factory, a site that has remained under the UK manufacturer’s ownership after the business sold the bulk of its biscuits operations to Ferrero last year.
The privately-owned company is in talks with staff over the fate of the “significantly loss-making” plant, which is located in Uttoxeter in the English Midlands. Union officials say the factory employs 550 staff.
2 Sisters said it had been “reviewing all options” for Elkes Biscuits since its deal with Ferrero last autumn. The company, also one of the country’s largest poultry processors, said those alternatives included “turnaround opportunities and potential sale”.
It added: “The Uttoxeter site is significantly loss-making and we have been unable to reverse this situation in the face of strong competitive pressure and cost inflation, nor have we been able to secure a viable offer for the business. We now believe the site is no longer commercially viable.
“Regrettably, we are now consulting with colleagues on our proposals, which includes the potential closure of the site. However, we are committed to exploring the full range of options available to us before any final decisions are made.”
The Unite union said the consultation process lasts until March. It noted how the plant is the largest employer in Uttoxeter.
“We know that Elkes Biscuits has a wide range of biscuits that are very popular with consumers, and this is underpinned by a dedicated and hardworking workforce. All these factors make it an attractive proposition to another company wishing to buy the site,” Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said.
“Unite wishes to work constructively with the management of the 2 Sisters Food Group during the consultation period until March to find a buyer. We would like to examine in detail the business case that is being put forward for the sale.”