2 Sisters expands again

2 Sisters Food Group is increasing its stake in the chilled foods and ready meals sector by buying Premier Foods’ business Brookes Avana for £30m. 

The company, which is best-known for its poultry operations, is taking on the savoury chilled food and pie business RF Brookes as well as Avana Bakeries, which specialises in cakes, slices and loaves. In the agreement, the three Books Avana sites at Newport and Leicester – including all employees – will transfer to the poultry giant.

Chief executive of 2 Sisters Food Group, Ranjit Singh said: “We are delighted to reach agreement on the proposed acquisition of Brookes Avana. The business has a strong track record in delivering high-quality products for its customers and would provide a growth platform for 2 Sisters and increase product diversity to serve every eating occasion.

“This is an excellent strategic fit and, following completion, we will focus on delivering growth opportunities and enhancing the performance of the business.”

Premier Foods CEO Michael Clarke, said: “Brookes Avana will have a better opportunity to grow with 2 Sisters Food Group, given their focus in the chilled food sector. I wish them every success in the future.”

The transaction is expected to complete by early 2012, but Premier Foods and 2 Sisters announced that they have also entered into manufacturing agreements in relation to certain products currently produced by the Brookes Avana business.  

In October, Premier Foods announced it would streamline its portfolio in order to concentrate on eight core brands, after reporting disappointing sales results and a year-on-year decline. At the half-year results, ending 25 June 2011, Brookes Avana reported a trading loss of £13.3m, after an annual turnover of £203.6m for the year ended 31 December 2010, and trading losses of £0.1m and trading profit of £9.4m. Net assets as at 31 December 2010 stood at £104.1m with gross assets of £147.4m

Last month Premier appointed Graham Hunter from 2 Sisters Food Group and Northern Foods to head up the grocery business.