Japanese hope their proverb -the day you decide to do it is your lucky day- will work for them as they take over Premier Foods

WORKERS at two Fenland canning factories got to meet their new Japanese owners today following completion of a �182 million sale.

Princess won control of Premier Foods canning plants in Wisbech and Long Sutton following approval by EU regulators of a take over proposal announced in February.

The sale includes a number of brands including Crosse & Blackwell, Farrow’s and Smedley’s. The sites, including two of Premier’s warehouses in Wisbech, collectively employ over 1,000 people.

A number of Premier Foods’ brands, including Branston and Batchelors, will remain under Premier Foods’ ownership but are being licensed to Princes on a long-term arrangement for the manufacture of specific products at Long Sutton and Wisbech. These include Branston baked beans and Batchelors canned soups.

The Fray Bentos brand, business and certain manufacturing assets will be sold by Princes following the acquisition as part of undertakings made by the company to the Office of Fair Trading. Until this divestment takes place, the Fray Bentos business will be run on an independent basis from Princes.

Princes will now have annual revenues approaching �1.5 billion, 4,500 employees, 13 food and drink production sites and a portfolio of leading brands.

The sale comes following the sale by Premier in January of its meat-free business, including a manufacturing plant at Methwold making and packing Quorn and Couldron Foods brands, to Exponent Private Equity and Intermediate Capital Group.

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Premier said the sale of these companies would be used to pay off debts it had built up.