RF Brookes to close food factory burning 229 jobs

Posted on 3 Oct 2012

2 Sisters Food Group will begin a phased closure of the RF Brookes food manufacturing site in Leicester, resulting in the loss of 229 jobs.

The group acquired the loss-making site (along with two others) from Premier Foods in December 2011 for £30m but has been unable to replace the business lost under the previous regime.

The site employed 500 people at the start of the year, now only makes Yorkshire puddings and pizza bases after losing a major pie contract with Marks & Spencer last year and 2 Sisters have been unable to turn things around.

RF Brookes made a half-year loss of £16m in the lead up to its acquisition, but the contract loss left the Leicester site running well under capacity as pie-making accounted for a large portion of the site’s operations.

2 Sisters is proposing to transfer the remaining products from Leicester to other company factories and close the site during the first three months of 2013. However, there is not much to move so any job growth at the group’s other factories appears unlikely according to an insider at 2 Sisters.

Since 2 Sisters acquired the three facilities in December 2011, it has seen positive progress in attracting new business into its two other sites in south Wales, gaining non-branded manufacturing contracts with Pizza Hut and supermarket chain Aldi.

2 Sisters, which also owns Fox Biscuits, is aiming for these two sites to break even by the end of the year.

Veepul Patel, divisional director at RF Brookes, said: “Today’s decision has not been taken lightly but reflects that we can only operate viable sites.”