max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: 2 Sisters Food Group reports £33.5m annual loss

12:06 29 October 2013

The 2 Sisters chicken factory at Haughley Park.

The 2 Sisters chicken factory at Haughley Park.


Poultry, ready meals and biscuits group 2 Sisters, which earlier this month confirmed plans to close a roast chicken factory near Stowmarket with the loss of more than 600 jobs, today reported an annual loss after continuing to feel the squeeze from the horsemeat scandal.

The company said profits had also been eroded by its purchase of loss-making chicken, beef and lamb operations from Dutch food group VION, which included sites at Eye in Suffolk and Witham in Essex, as well as currency swings and higher ingredient prices.

Birmingham-based 2 Sisters, owned by entrepreneur Ranjit Singh Boparan, reported losses of £33.5million in the year to the end of July after exceptional items, interest and tax. That compared with profits of £42.5m a year earlier.

Like-for-like sales grew 5.6% to £2.4billion. Including acquisitions, total sales surged 23.3% to £2.9bn, as the group consolidated its position as one of Britain’s biggest food producers.

2 Sisters has been on a debt-fuelled growth spurt since buying Yorkshire-based Goodfella’s pizza and Fox’s biscuit maker Northern Foods for £342m in 2011.

But it said the market saw ready meal sales plunge by as much as 40% when the horsemeat scandal emerged early this year, after traces of horse DNA were found in frozen beefburgers sold in Tesco, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl.

That hurt sales in its chilled food division, which makes ready meals for chains including Marks & Spencer, even though no traces of horsemeat were found in its products.

2 Sisters warned that harsh conditions are set to continue as the ready meals market recovers slowly and household budgets remain under pressure.

It continues to close plants to slash costs, and shut a factory in Leicester in June and earlier this month announced the closure of the roast chicken site at Haughley Park, with 750 jobs going in total.

Mr Boparan said: “Trading conditions have been very tough with inflation impacting cash-squeezed consumers and the impact of the horsemeat scandal on the food sector.

“We expect the economic environment to remain tough and we will work with our customers to deliver quality and value to consumers, invest in our brands, in innovation and our people, and improve efficiency.”

The group is launching about 100 new traditional meals, ranging from roast beef to chilli con carne, to rebuild the ready meals sector.

And it said it aims to return the Vion business, which earned sales of £365m under its 20 weeks of ownership, to profit next year.

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24


John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, cuts the ribbon to open the new TravelQuest branch in Ipswich, with members of the TravelQuest team.
From left, Vicki Wood, Poppy Brown, John Dugmore, Michelle Thake, Paul Hardwick and Karen Jones.

A Suffolk travel company has expanded with the opening of a second branch.

Terry Hunt, editor of the East Anglian Daily Times, left, and Boshor Ali, chairman of the Bangladeshi Support Centre (BSC), right, with other supporters of the Suffolk BME Business Awards from Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, the University of Suffolk and the BSC.	
Photo: Nigel Brown

More than 40 nominations have been received for the inaugural Suffolk BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Business Awards.

Tim King, group fleet manager at Turners (Soham), left, takes delivery of the firm's newest truck from Eddie Hennessy, regional manager of DAF Trucks UK, representing regional dealership Chassis Cab. 
Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

Suffolk-based logistics company Turners (Soham) Ltd has reported increased annual revenues and profit, and says it is “well placed” for further success despite competitive market conditions.

Sandy Jackson - Mark Westley Photography

British Gas has been forced to backtrack after repeatedly billing a 91-year-old great-grandmother for hundreds of pounds more than she owed.

Ian Thoroughgood, associate director at Grant Thornton in Ipswich, with Jonathan Agar, chief executive of Birketts.

Business advisers firm Grant Thorton is to unveil its 15th “Suffolk Limited” report next month on how the county’s leading businesses have performed over the past year.


Show Job Lists

Most read

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24