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Home Kent News Article
The British food manufacturer which owns the Batchelors factory
in Ashford has revealed it could axe up to 600 jobs next
Premier Foods Plc is responsible for numerous household
brands including Branston pickle and Birds custard.
The St Albans-based company, which runs the facility in
Kennington Road (which describes itself as the home of Cup a Soup),
said it plans to reduce its UK workforce of 12,000 employees by
Premier Foods chief executive officer Michael Clarke 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
However it seems the job cuts, which are subject to a consultation process, are unlikely to seriously affect the Ashford plant as they are expected to focus on “overhead functions”, following the sale of Quorn and other parts of the business.
Company spokesman Tom Eckersley said administration workers were
more likely to be the ones affected.
Premier Foods is reportedly struggling with repayments for an
£850m debt and share prices fell from 34p to 5.75p last
The firm issued a statement saying that financial results for
2011 were lower than expected and as a result it needs to cut costs
by £40m before 2013.
However it will also be investing in its eight “power” brands
including Hovis, Ambrosia, Mr. Kipling, Bisto, Oxo and
The group plans to double marketing spend in 2012 and put six of
its biggest brands back on TV, starting with Sharwood’s and Loyd
Grossman adverts next month.
It will launch a full programme of new product innovation,
promotions and marketing throughout the year.
The firm invested £25m in creating a new factory in Ashford
which opened in spring 2009. The facility has more than 420
employees and produces up to 54,000 tonnes of food each
Products made at the site include Batchelors Cup a Soup, Bisto
gravy and Paxo stuffing, curry sauce, cake and bread mixes and
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