Crisp firm buyer promises golden future

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Related tags: Potato chip

Tayto, the company that bought Golden Wonder and its brands from administrators in February, said it planned to develop new products and...

Tayto, the company that bought Golden Wonder and its brands from administrators in February, said it planned to develop new products and manufacturing opportunities at the newly acquired sites within a year.

The family-owned Northern Ireland firm took over the Scunthorpe factory and brands including Golden Wonder and Golden Skins crisps, Golden Lights and Ringos, as well as the own-label crisp production at the site.

Panmure Gordon analyst Justin Scarborough, who during negotiations said he thought all bidders were "barking mad", said that Tayto had made a "bold but brave" move.

"The concerns are still there in terms of the marketplace; Walkers is very strong and has a lot of funds available," said Scarborough. "It's a brave move if Tayto can break into the UK market and compete, but in the short to medium term it's just a case of suck it and see -- it's too early to say whether it will be successful."

The deal secured all 335 jobs in the Scunthorpe plant, 21 in administration, finance and sales from the Market Harborough head office and 195 at the Corby site.

In a separate deal, which Scarborough called "strange and quirky", Tayto sold the Nik Naks and Wheat Crunchies brands to United Biscuits, although both will continue to be made at Scunthorpe under a co-manufacturing deal. Tayto is also making Mini Pringles at Corby under licence from Procter and Gamble.

Tayto said the acquisition would take its annual turnover to £100m, compared with £15m five years ago. "We have exciting plans for Scunthorpe and Corby and intend to develop other products and manufacturing opportunities over the next 12 months," said Tayto md Stephen Hutchinson.

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