The plan announced this morning (July 10) – which will also cut the employment of local contractors – is part of a strategy to reorganise its milling business into two parts.
The reorganisation will strengthen the firm’s focus on its free trade (third party) customer base, while vertically integrating its remaining milling operations into its baking and grocery businesses, it claimed.
A dedicated management structure will be established to oversee the firm’s Rank Hovis free trade business. This will be serviced mainly by the company’s sites in Southampton, Manchester and Newbridge.
Flour supply business
The remaining mills in Wellingborough, Selby, Andover and Gainsborough will be organised into a vertically integrated flour supply business for the company’s baking and grocery business.
Bob Spooner, md of Premier Foods’ Bread Division and group supply chain director, said: “The Rank Hovis business has over 100 years of history in British milling with significant scale, expertise and know-how. By creating a dedicated structure aligned to our Rank Hovis customers, we will be able to improve further our customer focus and service levels.
“It’s also critical that we take the tough decisions necessary to improve the longer-term profitability and sustainability of the milling business by aligning our capacity to market needs.”
Invest about £1M
Premier Foods said it planned to invest about £1M in improving the capability of its Southampton and Wellingborough sites as part of this reorganisation.
Spooner added that the firm recognised the impact the proposal would have for employees in Barry and thanked them for their contribution over the years. “However, it’s not possible to continue on the current path given the excess capacity in the marketplace,” he added.
Consultations with the employees in Barry will begin in the near future.
The reorganisation was part of Premier Foods’ strategy – started last year – to re-build value in its Bread and Milling business, it said.
The expected costs associated with the restructuring of the business announced last year will remain unchanged at about £28M, predicted the firm. The costs associated with the proposed closure of the Barry mill will be absorbed into that total.
Meanwhile, Premier Foods recently appeared last in a 23-strong list of consumer stable manufacturers, ranked according to share value performance by City analyst Panmure Gordon. View our infographic here.