Sector News

Premier Foods calls off Ambrosia sale, blaming business climate

February 18, 2019
Consumer Packaged Goods

Premier Foods has abandoned plans to sell its Ambrosia brand of custard and rice pudding, blaming the current business climate.

The British food manufacturer announced its decision to offload the unit last November, in a move to focus on brands such as Batchelors.

Since the start of2019, Premier said it has been “engaged in detailed discussions with a small group of potential buyers”.

However, the firm’s board believes the current business climate will “not result in a satisfactory financial outcome” if the brand is sold.

The decision has been welcomed by trade union Unite, which represents 300 workers at Ambrosia’s factory in Lifton, Devon,

Unite regional officer Mark Richards said: “Premier Foods’ announcement is good news for the workforce, who have experienced three months of uncertainty about their future.

“Unite will now be seeking urgent meetings with Premier Foods to seek strict assurances that the company is now fully committed to the long-term future of the factory and its workforce.

“The Ambrosia factory is a major employer in this part of Devon and its long-term future is vital to the existing workforce and the local community.”

In its most recent quarterly results published last month, Premier recorded a 2.2% drop in sales. As announced in November, CEO Gavin Darby left his position at the end of January.

Speaking about the results last month, Darby said: “We faced into two sets of challenges in the quarter – lower international sales and our logistics programme, which as expected, affected cake sales volumes early in the quarter.”

By Jules Scully

Source: FoodBev

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