It is understood that Barclays has been hired to advise the sale of Kettle, two years after it was acquired as part of the purchase of Snyder’s-Lance and its portfolio of brands. Snyder’s-Lance bought Kettle as part of Diamond Foods for $1.2bn (£916m) in March 2016.
The manufacturer could be worth between £50m–£100m, according to the Press Association. A spokesman for Campbell Soup Company said: “We do not comment on rumours or speculation.”
However, potential buyers bight be put off by the £4.3m loss reported by the UK arm of the business in its half year financial statement – 1 January 2018 to 31 July 2018. Kettle blamed the loss on “very intense” competition in the UK market and increased investment in the brand in order to maintain its market share.
Launched in Oregon in the US in 1978, Kettle started UK production at its main factory in Bowthorpe, Norwich 10 years ago and now also operates a storage facility in Snetterton.
Last year saw the manufacturer invest £2.7m in its Bowthorpe site, with help from grant from the Growth Program of the Rural Development Programme for England.
Invest and upgrade
The project saw the relocation and upgrade of Kettle Foods’ entire potato reception process to a new building on spare land adjacent to the existing factory. This will mean that there will be almost no interruption to current manufacturing, the company said.
In 2016, Kettle acquired premium snack business Metcalfe’s Skinny, taking full ownership of the brand after taking a 26% stake in the business earlier the same year.
Meanwhile, last week, international meat business Tönnies Group has expanded its UK footprint with the acquisition of slaughter and cutting specialist C&K Meats, winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2017, for an undisclosed sum.