Hovis looking to make production network more efficient

Hovis looking to make production network more efficient

UK bread maker Hovis has put forward plans to close a plant in Leicester to "simplify" its production network.

Hovis, now run as a joint venture between US private-equity firm Gores Group and former 100% owner Premier Foods, said it started talks with the 204 staff at the site.

"The proposal is part of the simplification and transformation of the company's bread manufacturing operations which aims to improve efficiency, quality and customer service," Hovis said. The closure would leave Hovis with nine plants.

The company declined to comment on whether the move had been lined up before or since the venture between Gores and Premier had been finalised.

Earlier this year, UK food group Premier sold 51% of Hovis to Gores, retaining a 49% stake in the business. Premier said it hoped the deal would revitalise the business, which is operating in a tough UK bread market against competitors including Associated British Foods' Allied Bakeries and Warburtons.

In recent years, Premier closed Hovis sites, including facilities in Birmingham and west London. It also cut over 100 distribution routes and revamped Hovis's logistics operations as part of a major shake-up in announced in 2012.