Premier foods sells brands to Japanese but Bury jobs safe

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PREMIER Foods has sold three of its pickles and vinegar brands to the Japanese company Mizkan Group for £41 million.

But the company says only pickled beetroot and piccalilli are made at its factory in Mildenhall Road, Bury St Edmunds, and the deal is for those to carry on being made there for a year.

A spokesman stressed: “Only the two lines [of products] are being sold. The site is not part of the deal because other brands are made there.”

Those lines include pickled onions and gherkins, the Loyd Grossman sauces and Branston Pickle as well as own label products for Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Premier is selling Haywards, Sarsons and Dufrais, most of which are made at Middleton, near Manchester. Michael Clarke, chief executive of Premier Foods said: “This agreement represents another important step in our strategy to focus on our Power Brands.

“I’m delighted that we have found a buyer such as Mizkan. Our vinegars and sour pickles business and employees will greatly benefit from being part of a global player focused on vinegar and liquid condiments.”

The money raised by the sale, which will go to paying off existing debts.

Kazuhide Matazaemon Nakano VIII, chief executive of Mizkan, said: “We look forward to investing in the brands and adding to their legacy. They fit well with our global portfolio and provide a solid foundation for growth in the UK.”

Even without these brands Premier’s products will still be found in every kitchen cupboard in the UK. They will still own more than 30 brands including Bachelors, Cadbury’s, Hovis, Sharwoods, Paxo, Bisto and Oxo.