Premier Foods sells vinegar & pickles business to Mizkan

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vinegar, Pickling

Premier ceo Michael Clarke makes another disposal in order to focus on his power brands
Premier ceo Michael Clarke makes another disposal in order to focus on his power brands
The long-predicted sale of Premier Foods' vinegar and sour pickles business has finally taken place – to the Japan-based food manufacturer Mizkan for £41M.

The sale includes the Sarson’s, Haywards and Dufrais brands and is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

The Sarson’s and Haywards brands are leaders in their respective categories of malt vinegar and pickles in vinegar. Dufrais is the number two brand in speciality vinegar.

All three brands are manufactured mainly at the group’s Middleton factory, near Manchester, and all employees at the site are expected to transfer to the buyer following an appropriate consultation process.

Power brands

Premier said the sale was further progress in its strategy of prioritising investment in its eight power brands and divesting selected, non-core businesses.

Michael Clarke, ceo, Premier Foods said: “This agreement represents another important step in our strategy to focus on our power brands. I’m delighted that we have found a buyer such as Mizkan.

“Our vinegars and sour pickles business and employees will greatly benefit from being part of a global player focused on vinegar and liquid condiments.”

Kazuhide Matazaemon Nakano, ceo, Mizkan, said: “We are excited to acquire two strong and iconic brands that have such a deep heritage in the UK. Sarson’s and Haywards are beloved by consumers and we look forward to investing in the brands and adding to their legacy.

“They fit well with our global portfolio, are an excellent strategic fit and provide a solid foundation for growth in the UK.”

Weetabix

The acquisition by the 207 year old privately held international manufacturer follows the Chinese firm Bright’s acquisition of Weetabix last month.

Mizkan is one of the world’s leading vinegar manufacturers with operations in Japan, the US, the UK and other Asian countries.

City analyst Panmure Gordon, which predicted the sale of Middleton site last month, said: "In a way, this is the sort of stable, high-margin, cash-generative business that Premier should be keeping. But the need for cash is pressing and the strategy, we believe, is correct.”

Panmure’s Graham Jones said Panmure was changing its recommendation from sell to hold and maintaining its 90p price target.

To read how we reported Panmure’s prediction of a sale click here​.

For the analysts's reaction to the deal, click here​.

Meanwhile. Greencore today (June 15) announced the sale of its chilled desserts facility in Minsterley to the Müller Dairy UK group for £4.3M, plus an amount for stock.

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