Fray Bentos takeover deal in the can, says OFT

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Investment, Baxters

In the can: the OFT has approved the sale of Fray Bentos to Baxters
In the can: the OFT has approved the sale of Fray Bentos to Baxters
Scottish food group Baxters’ acquisition of the Fray Bentos brand from Princes has received approval from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Princes inherited the Fray Bentos brand after securing a deal with Premier Foods for all its canned operations in July 2011.

An OFT investigation of the deal, agreed for an undisclosed sum, concluded that Baxters was a "suitable purchaser", ​of the canned meat business.

Amelia Fletcher, chief economist at the OFT, said: “'This merger​ [Premier Foods/Princes] would have led to a near monopoly in the provision of canned pies in the UK.

Suitable purchaser

“However, the sale of the Fray Bentos brand to Baxters will restore pre-merger levels of competition for the benefit of consumers. The OFT believes that Baxters, with its extensive experience in the sector, is a suitable purchaser for the business.”

The manufacture of Fray Bentos products will transfer this year from Prince’s Long Sutton site in East Anglia to Baxters' facility in Fochabers, Scotland.

Speaking after agreeing the deal last month, Audrey Baxter, chairman, Baxters Food Group, said: “As a business, we have constantly sought out new opportunities, most recently through successful acquisitions in Canada and Australia and we also invested in a new-build Polish manufacturing operation. Fray Bentos will provide an array of opportunities to develop our position in the UK market and internationally.​”

Capital investment

Baxter added: “A substantial capital investment programme has also been approved to enable all the plant, machinery and production lines to be housed on-site​.”

Scottish rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochead added: “It's great to see this iconic Scottish company going from strength to strength, growing and investing in Scotland. The jobs and investment in Fochabers are further proof – if it was ever needed – that Scotland is at the heart of the global food business.

Launched in 1899, Fray Bentos is renowned for its range of canned meat pies, including steak and kidney and chicken and mushroom.

Baxters makes premium food products, including soups, savoury sauces and sweet sauces.

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1 comment


Posted by mr r. martin,

I bought three cans of steak & kidney pies. I broke three can openers trying to open the first can. I finally got it open using a screwdrier and small hammer and a new can opener. This was the type that you punch through the tin and lift up and down. When this gave up and my hand became too sore, I tried two other types of opener, including a failed.electric opener - both of which failed. The can was too thick and the lip on can too small for the opener to grip it.

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