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Sectors > Chilled foods

Death knell for Paramount Foods as 278 jobs lost

By Lorraine Mullaney , 27-Nov-2012
Last updated on 28-Nov-2012 at 16:41 GMT

Paramount Foods is to close its site in north Wales with the loss of 279 jobs
Paramount Foods is to close its site in north Wales with the loss of 279 jobs

The death knell has rung for pizza manufacturer Paramount Foods, which will close its site in north Wales with the loss of a further 278 jobs.

Staff will work their final shift on Friday November 30. A consultation process has begun with employees.

The job losses take the company’s total number of redundancies to 451 since it went into administration last month (October 5).

Administrator Duff & Phelps issued a statement to FoodManufacture.co.uk, in which its partner David Whitehouse, said: “The joint administrators have announced to stakeholders and employees of the company a phased wind-down of operations.”

Loss of Morrisons contract

The administrators have been looking for a buyer for the firm since it first went into administration . The situation was caused by the loss of a contract to supply Morrisons’ own-label pizza, which represented 40% of Paramount’s business.

Announcing the administration on October 5, Whitehouse said: “While the company has incurred trading losses historically, the recent loss of a major customer has left it without any prospect of returning to profitability in line with a turnaround plan embarked upon in July this year.”

Duff & Phelps had been holding discussions with an interested party , which has recently withdrawn its offer.

Whitehouse said: “Advanced discussions regarding a sale of the business as a going concern had been held with an interested party, who, for reasons outside of its control, has had to withdraw its offer.”

Big name customers

Paramount Foods is one of the largest manufacturers of frozen and chilled pizzas in the UK. It employed 278 staff across its two sites: 76 people at a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and a further 202 staff at its site in Deeside, north Wales. At its peak it employed 451 staff: 138 at its site in Salford and a further 312 in Deeside.

It made the bases of its pizza products at its Salford site and finished them at the Deeside facility.

It counted some of the UK’s biggest supermarket names among its customers, including Sainsbury, Asda and Tesco.

Whitehouse said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the employees for their continued support through the administration process and we will offer support where required to staff involved as the business winds down.”

 

Timeline of Paramount’s demise

  • July 16 – Vion sells Paramount Foods to Arena Ventures. Company embarks on ‘turnaround plan’.
  • October 5 – Administrators appointed after Paramount Foods loses 40% of its business with Morrisons. Production is halted as urgent talks begin with key customers and potential buyers.
  • October 7 – Trading resumed as buyers are sought for the business.
  • October 9 – 118 workers are made redundant (76 at Deeside and 42 in Salford)
  • October 25 – Deadline for bids
  • October 24 – 41 workers made redundant at Deeside facility and 14 across two sites
  • November 22 – The closure of the site announced with 278 job losses