Kettle Chips maker sold

Posted on 1 Mar 2010 by The Manufacturer

Norwich based savoury snack maker Kettle Foods has been bought by US firm Diamond Foods for £402.3m ($615m).

Investment firm Lion Capital has cashed in on the firm it bought for £170m in 2006.

Kettle – with its flagship Kettle Chips gourmet crisp range – was founded in the US in 1978 and expanded into the UK in 1989. It has seen strong growth in sales in recent years including a £10m rise in turnover from 2007 to 2008.

The two companies said the sale will allow Kettle to grow on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Diamond and Kettle Foods share a history of relentless focus on flavour and product quality and working collaboratively with our retail partners,” said Diamond chief executive Michael Mendes. “By adding Kettle, including its talented team of employees, our snack business will have greater scale, which will help us to drive even greater innovation in the snack market.”

Jeremy Bradley, managing director of Kettle’s UK business, added: “With a strong track record of brand-building, innovation and growth in the snack category in the US, Diamond is an ideal partner to build upon our success and drive the next phase of Kettle Foods.”

Diamond is based in California and its brands include nuts and microwavable popcorn.

Kettle survived a consumer boycott of its products in 2007 after it was revealed that bosses at the Norwich site tried to stop employees from joining a union. The factory employs around 400 people.