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May 10, 2006

UK: Heinz goes Dutch with HP

Heinz today (10 May) announced proposals to move production of HP Sources from Aston Cross, near Birmingham, to Elst in the Netherlands.

Heinz today (9 May) announced proposals to move production of HP Sauces from Aston Cross, near Birmingham, to Elst in the Netherlands.

US food group Heinz completed the acquisition of HP at the end of March, after the UK Competition Commission gave final clearance to the purchase.

“We are also considering moving the production of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce from Aston to Worcestershire,” Heinz director of UK corporate and government affairs Nigel Dickie told just-food.

Under the proposals, the factory at Aston Cross would close next March with the loss of around 125 jobs. The Worcester manufacturing site would be secured and approximately 30 new jobs would be created, Heinz said

“We are starting a period of employee consultation today,” Dickie said. “That will last three-months and a final decision on the proposal will be made sometime after that.”

The UK press has widely reported that The Transport & General Workers Union is disappointed at the move because Heinz had offered assurances of job-security.

Dickie dismissed these reports as “simply untrue”.

“At the time of our acquisition of HP and subsequently we have always made it very clear that the future of our manufacturing operations was uncertain until the completion of a strategic review.”

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