Irish food company Kerry Group is to close a frozen ready-meals site in the Welsh town of Flint, with the possible loss of over 300 jobs.

Kerry confirmed that the factory, part of the Headland Foods business the Irish firm acquired in January, would start to scale down production in the middle of April. The site will close by the end of the month. Some 318 employees could be affected by the closure.

A Kerry spokesman said Headland had indicated in November that the Flint factory could close amid fierce competition in the UK’s frozen ready-meals sector. Kerry, the spokesman explained, has pushed ahead with the plan in order to consolidate its production and make its business in the category stronger.

“Frozen prepared meals is a highly competitive sector that suffers from poor profitability,” the spokesman told just-food today (17 February). “This was a very difficult decision but was based on the challenges in this highly competitive marketplace. Kerry is committed to growing its business in the prepared-meals sector.”

Production at the Flint factory will move to a second Headland Foods site in Grimsby. Staff at Flint could have the opportunity to move to other Kerry facilities, including a site producing pork products in Hyde, near Manchester, and the Irish group’s chilled meals plant in Burton-on-Trent.