300 jobs at risk as food producer announces closure of West Midlands plant

Premier Foods, the maker of Oxo stock cubes and Mr Kipling cakes, has announced plans to close a plant in the West Midlands, putting more than 300 jobs at risk.

Premier Foods said that the site in Knighton had become unprofitable and would be shut by the middle of 2023.

Knighton manufactures predominantly non-branded powdered beverages.

Premier Foods said: “Following a comprehensive review of the site, the company is entering into colleague consultation on its proposed closure.

“Under these proposals, effective from mid-2023, non-branded revenue contracts of c.£27m sales will be carefully managed for exit.

“Cash exceptional costs of c.£10m associated with closure are expected to be incurred in FY23/24.

“It is recognised that this will be an unsettling time for those 300 colleagues who are potentially affected by these proposals, and they will be fully supported and consulted with throughout the process.”

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “This is devastating news for all concerned and with so many jobs at risk a real blow to local communities. The county council will work with partners including the borough council and DWP to ensure those affected have the support they need at this difficult time.

“The partnership will contact the company to discuss next steps and set out the free support services available to those employees affected. These include our recently launched Staffordshire Jobs and Careers brokerage service, where our team of expert brokers will be on hand to match people with training and employment opportunities locally, of which there are many across the county.”

The announcement comes on the back of successive quarters of strong financial results for the company.

In the final three months of 2022, Premier Foods saw group sales rise by 12% compared with the previous year, with grocery sales up by 17% and international sales up by 10%.

Before that, Premier Foods had enjoyed three successful years thanks to increased consumption during the pandemic, rewarding shareholders with a 20% increase in dividend payouts in 2022.

Premier Foods employs more than 4,000 people operating from 15 sites across the country, supplying retailers and wholesale with brands such as Bistro, Ambrosia, Bachelors, Loyd Grossman, Oxo and Sharwood’s.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...