Japanese conglomerate Mizkan has offered to offload its Burntwood production facility in the UK in a bid to win competition clearance for its acquisition of Premier Foods plc’s pickles and vinegars business.

In a statement released today (26 September) by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, it emerged Nakano, a division of Mizkan, has said it would sell off its production facility in order to assuage competition concerns arising from the acquisition, which was completed earlier this year.

The OFT has warned Mizkan and Premier were the only two UK manufacturers of malt and spirit vinegars and the largest suppliers of these products to food manufacturers.

The competition watchdog rejected the argument that European vinegar producers would present viable competition on the basis on the higher transportation costs that such groups would incur.

A spokesperson for the OFT told just-food the regulator is now considering whether the proposal would remedy the situation. While Mizkan’s offer is being assessed, the OFT will refrain from sending the merger to the Competition Commission, the UK’s ultimate competition authority, the spokesperson said.

“If it is found that the sale of the facility would not remedy the problem, we would then refer the case to the Competition Commission,” the spokesperson concluded.

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Mizkan was not available for comment at time of press.