Bakkavor sells Belgian ready-meal business Vaco

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Bakkavor Group has sold Vaco to Culinor Food Group (Image provided by I Believe I Can Fry/Flickr)
Bakkavor Group has sold Vaco to Culinor Food Group (Image provided by I Believe I Can Fry/Flickr)

Related tags Apprenticeship European union

Bakkavor Group has sold Belgian prepared food company Vaco, as part of its strategy to sell its non-core businesses.

Bakkavor agreed the sale to Culinor Food Group. The deal is expected to be completed by early autumn.

Bakkavor ceo Ágúst Gudmundsson said: This sale marks further progress for the Group as we focus on our core strategic growth markets of the UK, US and Asia.”

Vaco became the latest business to be sold by Bakkavor, as the company aimed to focus on core growth in the UK, US and Asia. Vaco is a north Belgian ready-meals business, selling pasta sauces, soup and prepared meals.

Largest player of ready-meals

The new owner, Culinor Food Group, is also a Belgian prepared foods company, employing 240 people and producing 275t of food each week.

Following its acquisition of Hot Cuisine in 2011, Culinor became the largest ready-meals business in Belgium. It also supplies products to Denmark, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

The agreement came just before Bakkavor’s 30th​ birthday. Gudmundsson said the business had changed a great deal since its beginnings in 1986. The latest deal to sell Vaco was advancing this change, he said.

‘Drive our success’

Gudmundsson said: “I am extremely proud of where we are today, the relationships we’ve cultivated and all of our dedicated, hard-working employees who have helped drive our success.”

The company will hold a family fun weekend in Spalding, Lincolnshire to celebrate its birthday, on July 23 and 24. This includes an RAF flypast, a vintage tractor rally, and live music.

Meanwhile, Bakkavor announced in January it had lost a key contract with Tesco, which placed more than 300 jobs at risk. Limited market growth and rising costs of labour have made it difficult for Bakkavor this year.

The shock Brexit vote to leave the European Union​ is said to have added to its concern.

However, the company said in May 2016 it planned to recruit hundreds of new employees​ across its deli and desserts businesses, to keep up with public demand.

Bakkavor is also looking to recruit 45 apprentices. The company's apprentice scheme began five years ago and now offers 14 different types of apprenticeships, including product development, food engineering, and food manufacturing.

Bakkavor’s business sales

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