Greencore Northampton site to offer hundreds of jobs

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Williams: 'brand new food food-to-go facility'
Williams: 'brand new food food-to-go facility'

Related tags Generally accepted accounting principles

Greencore’s £30M food-to-go factory at Northampton, announced yesterday (May 20), is expected to deliver hundreds of extra jobs to the region, according to the company’s chief financial officer Alan Williams.

The company revealed plans for the site as it unveiled interim results​ for the 26 weeks to March 28, claiming new business in chilled sandwiches, requiring increased capacity, had led to the cash injection.

Williams told the company had no exact figure for the number of jobs the development would create, but added: “We would expect there would be several hundred from the site. We have already run a couple of job fairs.”

The project would eventually bring £60M to £100M of additional revenue to the business from existing products and new product development, he said. “We will see some benefits in the financial year 2015 and will start phasing in new products from September, October.”

‘Upgrading and extending’

There would be two main phases of investment in the facility, he said. The first, representing about a third of the £30M package, would consist of “upgrading and extending”​ existing buildings. Williams said this was due to be completed in January 2015.

A second phase will then begin, which is expected to finish in the spring of 2016. “We have purchased an adjacent piece of land and will be building a brand new food-to-go facility on that site,” ​said Williams.

The £30M package would be spread over three financial years, with most of it – £25M – allocated to the 2015 financial year, he said.

The initiative would be the major focus of capital expenditure in the current (2014) financial year, he added. “We are not envisaging any other major UK projects.”​ That said, he did not rule out further internal spending or external acquisitions where they fitted Greencore’s plans.

Williams said it had seen 17.2% food-to-go revenue growth in the UK in its interim period, well ahead of market growth of 9.4%, with sandwiches achieving the best performance.

Significant volume growth

US food-to-go like-for-like revenue had grown by 25.7%. The convenience food manufacturer had achieved significant volume, as well as value growth in the category, he added.

He said in the UK rapid growth in the number of convenience store sites opened by major retailers, and increasing employment in urban areas near such stores, leading to more lunch purchases, had boosted figures.

Strong meal deal offers, including free crisps or drinks with premium sandwich purchases had helped, Williams claimed. An increased emphasis on ingredients with British provenance and increased use of sustainable packaging had also lifted sales, he said.

He claimed Greencore had seen sales of traditional ready meals return to strong growth after the horsemeat scandal hit the industry last year. “We have seen steady improvement month-on-month.”

The firm reported group revenue of £619.8M, up 9.3% on a like-for-like basis in its interim period​. Convenience Foods revenue grew 9.6%. Adjusted pre-tax profit rose by 20.5% and operating profit by 14% to £37.2M.

For the latest jobs in the food and drink manufacturing sector, visit FoodManJobs​.

Related topics Chilled foods

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