IFP swallows Kent pie firm

Kent-based sausage and pie manufacturer W A Turner has been acquired by Irish Food Processors.

Turner's, which has two factories in Tunbridge Wells, will operate alongside IFP's Anglo Beef Processors Group, whose subsidiary companies produce value-added and consumer-ready products for major multiple retailers, as well as well-known national brands.

A spokesman for Anglo Beef Processors said "The Turner operation fits perfectly into our group strategy. This acquisition confirms our commitment to expanding our interest in consumer-ready products and to investing in the UK food market."

W A Turner chief executive Mark Roberts will continue in the role. He said: "Our products are in a fast-expanding area of the market and moving into the ABP Group will give us the additional financial strength and skills to fully exploit our potential."

The 150-year-old company was a management buy-out from its parent company, Prize Foods Group, in 2003.

Sausages and pies have a combined market value of more than £500m a year.

ABP, with 13 plants in the UK, is responsible for processing almost 20% of all beef produced in the market. The company supplies major multiple retailers with hundreds of different products every day from its packing plants. It is also active in the catering and manufacturing sectors and the export market. ABP is also developing a leading position in the production of biodiesel in the UK.

Companies within the ABP Group include Wessex Foods, which supplies 60% of the UK's frozen burgers market from a state-of-the-art plant at Lowestoft, Suffolk. Wessex Foods also supplies a range of other frozen meat products and has a sophisticated fresh burger production operation.

Sister companies also include Freshlink Foods, Glasgow, which is the largest frozen sausage supplier to the UK retail market, and Eatwell UK, which operates from a processing plant in Liverpool and is successful in the expanding hot sandwich market.