Sausage maker shows an apetite for growth

SAUSAGE PRODUCER, J&J Tranfield has taken another step along the acquisition trail with the purchase of a majority shareholding in Paramount Foods for an undisclosed sum.

Paramount enjoys a 25% share of the chilled pizza category and has a small speciality bread business with a combined turnover of £40m. J&J Tranfield has acquired all the business's assets including a pizza topping plant in Deeside and a bakery in Salford, taking its shareholding in Paramount up to 75%. Mike Hutchinson, managing director at Tranfield, said: "This is the first stage of a planned strategy for category diversification. It establishes a strong presence for Tranfield in the chilled pizza market, and we're confident we can build more scale in an already sizable market," he said.

"The important thing is that we have retained a highly experienced and industry-respected management team which will continue to run the operation autonomously." Phil Ryle, managing director at Paramount Foods, said: "We're a successful and growing business and, in any industry, that success will attract admirers. The important thing about this acquisition is that we preserve our independence. Tranfield is an excellent, well-run business and we'll be looking to grow together and maximise synergies where we can."

Paramount Foods started trading on 4 October 2005 following a management buy out of the pizza division from Greencore Plc. Since then, the company has embarked upon an aggressive re-organisation and restructuring programme. Paramount currently employs around 750 staff and has a turnover of £40m.

Sheffield-based J&J Tran? eld is an established, privately-owned manufacturer supplying added value frozen and chilled meat products to grocery multiples and the foodservice sector from its operations in South Yorkshire and Cumbria. Following the acquisition of Kings Court Foods in August 2004, and the meat division of Canterbury Foods in December 2005, Tranfield has an annual turnover of £80m and employs 650 staff.

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