Premier Foods to cut jobs

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THE UK’S largest food manufacturer – which has factories in Bury St Edmunds and Mendlesham – is to axe hundreds of jobs by next year.

Premier Foods, whose key brands include Mr Kipling, Hovis, Ambrosia and Bisto, is to cut its workforce of 12,000 by around five per cent by 2013 in an attempt to save £40 million.

The company operates factories in Mildenhall Road, Bury, and Mendlesham Industrial Estate, in Norwich Road, Mendlesham.

A spokesman for Premier Foods was unable to say how many workers at the Bury and Mendlesham factories would be affected, saying only that the cuts – which are subject to ‘appropriate consultations’ – would be made to roles in administration and support services.

Michael Clarke, chief executive of Premier Foods, said: “We continue to deliver on our plans to stabilise the business and invest in our recovery and future growth.

“While decisions to reduce the workforce are always difficult, I’m convinced we are taking the right steps in the long-term interests of the business, employees and our stakeholders.”

The debt-stricken group reported trading over the Christmas period in line with expectations but predicted its financial results for last year would be at the lower end of current market expectations.

It is discussing a refinancing package with its banks and plans to dispose of its non-core businesses while focusing investment this year on growing its eight power brands, which also include Sharwood’s, Loyd Grossman, Bisto, and Batchelors.