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Princes invests in Italian tomato processing firm

By Tom Chandler , 30-Jan-2012

Canned food and soft drinks firm Princes has forged a partnership with its tomato supplier to form a new business in Italy.

Princes' new plant in Italy will process up to 400,000t of fresh tomatoes each year

Princes' new plant in Italy will process up to 400,000t of fresh tomatoes each year

The new firm, Princes Industrie Alimentari (PIA), is expected to generate annual sales of more than €200M and process up to 400,000t of fresh tomatoes each year.

PIA, formed in partnership with Princes’ long-standing supplier AR Industrie Alimentari (ARIA), will be 51%-owned by the Liverpool-based firm.

The new firm will take over ARIA’s 120,000m2 processing factory in Foggia which is expected to employ up to 1,200 people at its seasonal peak.

International growth

Ken Critchley, md of Princes said: “This is a significant development for our group and an important step in our strategy for further international growth. PIA creates new partnerships for our business and broadens our access to new customers and markets.

“The company will continue to support the agricultural community in Italy by developing strong relationships with local growers and suppliers.”

The acquisition follows Princes’ acquisition of two canning sites at Long Sutton and Wisbech in East Anglia from Premier Foods last summer.

“These acquisitions, along with PIA, are expected to increase yearly group revenues to more than £2bn a year,” according to a statement from the firm.

The transfer of ARIA’s assets to PIA will take place within the next two months, subject to regulatory approval.

Princes said the move would achieve further growth for its Italian business by providing a more direct relationship with its supply partners in Italy.

Manufacturing sites

A spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk’s sister site FoodNavigator.com, that the firm was hungry for more acquisitions. “As a group, Princes is very keen to acquire companies. The last two were significant food manufacturing sites,” he said.

This latest acquisition will take Princes’ global workforce to more than 5,000 workers employed across 14 international production sites.

Brands owned by the firm include Aqua Pura, Crisp 'n Dry, Crosse & Blackwell, Farrows, Jucee, and the Princes brand itself.

It also produces and sells Batchelors and Branston products under license from Premier Foods, and Flora and Olivio products under license from Unilever.

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