Northern Foods cuts businesses, staff and dividend

UK - The Northern Foods chief executive, Pat O'Driscoll, announced a radical restructuring of the troubled group yesterday, halving its dividend payout and putting 40% of the business up for sale.
calendar icon 1 June 2006
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Admitting there had been "a history of the yes culture" in Northern Foods' dealings with its supermarket customers, Ms O'Driscoll said there would be a tougher line on uneconomic business in future as the group battles to restore profitability.

It will focus on five core businesses: pizzas, biscuits, ready meals, sandwiches and Christmas puddings. Up for sale are the Smith flour milling unit, cakes, speciality bread, its chilled pastry products division and the NFT distribution arm. These businesses account for about 40% of the group's £1.44bn turnover and employ 9,000 people, 45% of its total workforce.

Up for sale are the Pork Farms pork pies and sausage rolls business, the speciality bread company La Baguette Dorée, the muffins and croissants company Grain D'Or and the Smiths flour milling operation. In branded goods, Northern Foods is retaining Fox's biscuits, Matthew Walker Christmas puddings, Goodfellas pizzas, Holland's pies and Grassington's meat-free meals.

Source: The Guardian

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