Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ready-Meal Business Is Sold Twice in Less Than a Year; FOOD

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ready-Meal Business Is Sold Twice in Less Than a Year; FOOD

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Lognonne

A READY-meal business in Consett, County Durham, has been sold for the second time in less than a year. Irish convenience firm Greencore has bought out International Cuisine, based on the Hownsgill Industrial Park, for pounds 16.7m.

The chilled ready-meal business was bought yesterday (August 23) by US-based Hain Celestial Group in October 2011, but was put up for sale by the organic food company less than a year later.

Hain Celestial Group bought International Cuisine's parent company, chilled food business the Daniels Group, from its Singaporeheadquartered owner.

Greencore said the majority of International Cuisine's pounds 45m revenue is derived from several existing Greencore ready-meal customers. International Cuisine currently employs more than 500 people at its Consett facility.

Although Greencore moved to reassure staff at its North East base that there were no plans to make any large-scale redundancies, the new owner admitted that there was the possibility of cutting back where services are replicated in the merged business after the deal.

Marketing director Michael Evans said: "There is likely to be overlapping in job roles at the company as we don't need, say, two different marketing teams.

"We have a dedicated integration officer who will be charged with overseeing this overlap at our Consett facility.

"It's too early to say whether or not we'll be making redundancies but there are certainly no plans to make any significant redundancies."

The Consett site will provide additional capacity for Greencore in the ready-meals category in the UK, which continues to show strong growth.

With an annual turnover of pounds 1.1bn, International Cuisine's pounds 45m revenue provides a relatively small contribution to Greencore's extensive portfolio. Evans added: "This is a bolt-on acquisition and the right facility in terms of our requirements to grow the business. …

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