Premier Foods expands Irish operations with Chivers buyout

BRITISH food manufacturer Premier Foods has bought jam maker Chivers after it sold it in a management buyout in 1999, it was confirmed last night.

Premier Foods will combine the Chivers Ireland operation with its existing Premier Foods Ireland business, which was formed last year after it acquired Campbell’s Soups Ireland.

The merged company, with an expected turnover in Ireland of around €70 million, will possess well-known brands such as Erin, Oxo, McDonnells, Chivers, Ambrosia, Birds, Loyd Grossman and Goodall’s.

Liam O’Rourke, the current managing director of Chivers Ireland, who will head the new operation, said: “This acquisition is a significant investment in Ireland and a vote of confidence in the strength of the Irish food sector by one of the UK and Ireland’s leading and most dynamic food businesses. I am excited by the opportunities for growth this combined business and its exciting portfolio of brands presents.”

The current Chivers operation was formed as a result of a management buyout from Premier Foods, which owned the company between 1986 and 1999.

Mr O’Rourke said: “Both businesses have developed significantly in the intervening years and I warmly welcome this ‘homecoming’.

“Over the coming months I will be reviewing how best to integrate the two businesses and will keep employees updated on any changes which may be proposed.”

Chivers, which began manufacturing preserves, jams and jellies in Ireland in 1932, distributes a wide portfolio to household brands including Goodall’s, YR Sauce, Kandee, Birds, Ambrosia, Hartleys, Crosse & Blackwell, Sarsons, Loyd Grossman, Roses, Branston, Smash and Golden Syrup.

The company also distributes for Schweppes, Meli Honey and Tate & Lyle, and was delivering Premier Foods products in the Republic.

Premier Foods Ireland operates from its head office in Dublin and manufacturing facility in Thurles, Co Tipperary, employing 165 people in Ireland in total.

Premier Foods manufactures and markets a variety of grocery products including convenience foods, pickles, sauces and meat-free as well as spreads, desserts and beverages.

A number of its branded products include Batchelor’s soups, Quorn and Cauldron Foods meat alternatives, Ambrosia custard puddings, Oxo stocks and gravies, Bird’s and Angel Delight desserts and Branston pickles.

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