Factory sells pie business

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LONG Sutton’s Princes Foods is selling its £30million Fray Bentos arm to Scottish food group Baxters.

Baxters is buying the business for an undisclosed sum and production of the famous tinned pies will shift to its Fochabers factory over the next year.

Princes bought Fray Bentos from Premier Foods in February as part of the £182m acquisition of its canned foods business.

Under the deal, Princes received a long-term licence to produce baked beans and pasta under the Branston and Batchelors labels. The sale was part of Premier Foods’ efforts to pay its £1b debt mountain and came just a month after it offloaded its Quorn range to Exponent Private Equity for £205m.

But in June the Office of Fair Trading ordered Princes to dispose of the Fray Bentos operations after expressing concern about competition in the canned goods market.

Princes refuse to say how many workers are employed at the Fray Bentos plant but 1,000 staff were reported to work at Long Sutton and Wisbech when Princes bought the sites from Premier Foods.