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Food & Drink - 2003






















Kerry Group is to create up to 40 new jobs at its Rye Valley frozen meals factory in Fermanagh.

Freshbake Foods is to acquire a factory on the Oakesway Trading Estate in Hartlepool from the receivers of Hibernia Foods, securing the future of 380 jobs.

The National Farmers Union has submitted plans to build a new national headquarters for 100 staff at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, and employees will relocate from London in 2005.

Muntons is to shed 30 jobs at the former Scotmalt factory at Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, in order to relocate the manufacture of derivative malt products to Suffolk.

Milk Link, the farmer-owned dairy co-operative, has acquired Newlands Farm, the Liskeard-based producer of the Cornish Dairy brand, for undisclosed terms.

Northern Foods is to sell its Batchelors and Beck Smith canned food operations in Ireland to Barry's Tea for £67m.

Unilever has confirmed plans to open up to 100 Wall's ice-cream parlours across the country over the next five years.

Wilkin & Sons of Tiptree has acquired Passionately Cakes, the Essex-based cake manufacturer.

Associated British Foods has acquired G Costa, the speciality food company and owner of the Blue Dragon brand, for undisclosed terms.

Hepscott, the water cooler company, is to relocate to a new £0.5m headquarters in Morpeth in February.

RHM is to invest £23m at the Avana Bakeries site in Newport, securing the future of 675 jobs, but the company's Cardiff site will close and 230 staff will be offered employment in Newport.

Rowan Glen Dairy Products has secured a £0.4m grant from the Scottish Executive to expand its yoghurt production plant in Dumfries & Galloway, with the creation of eight jobs.

Erewash Borough Council is to consider plans from Direct Wines and TDG for the £8m expansion of their distribution centre in West Hallam, with the creation of up to 150 jobs.

Stroud District Council has approved outline plans from Kerry Ingredients for the expansion and modernisation of its food factory in Cam.

Yorkshire Cottage Bakeries has acquired Bakebest, the Manchester-based bakery with 100 staff, for undisclosed terms.

Smiles Brewery has undergone a £1.1m management buy-in backed by Close Venture Management, which is expected to lead to the development of a new brewery at an undisclosed location in Bristol.

United Central Bakeries has acquired Fords the Bakers, the Scottish retail baker with 150 staff at Prestonpans, from Lyndale Foods for £2m.

Greene King is to expand the capacity of its brewery in Bury St Edmunds by up to 50%, including 16 new fermentation vessels.

Ginsters is creating 35 new jobs at its Callington factory, due to rising demand for savoury pastry products.

East End Foods has awarded a £2.8m contract to Celsius Projects to extend its warehouse in West Bromwich.

Angel Springs Holdings has been formed from the merger of the watercooler operations of Chiltern Hills, Angel Springs and SPA, and the new group will have 150 staff and receive a £10m investment from 3i.

Richmond Foods is to open two new ice cream production lines at sites in Richmond and Leeds early next year, as part of a three-year £27m capital investment programme.

Young & Co is considering plans to relocate its south London brewery, in order to free up the 5.5-acre Wandsworth site for redevelopment.

Grimsby Fish Docks has announced proposals to invest £10m in the creation of a modern fish processing park near the North Wall.

The Scottish Agricultural Science Agency is to consider bids from four construction groups early next year for the development of a new £25m headquarters at Gogarbank Farm, near Edinburgh.

Fishwicks is planning to expand its South Shields-based fruit and vegetable wholesaling business across the North, with an increase in the workforce from 70 to 90.

Weetabix, the breakfast cereal manufacturer, is to be acquired by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, the US private equity firm that owns Premier Foods, for £642m.

Grampian has acquired St Merryn, the meat products supplier with 2,000 staff and plants in Cornwall and South Wales.

Perkins Foods is creating 69 jobs at a new £7.5m Fresh-Pak egg preparation and mayonnaise factory in Barnsley, which is due to open in December.

RHM has sold Pasta Foods, the Yarmouth-based pasta manufacturer with 130 staff, to management for undisclosed terms.

Asda is to close its 31 in-store butchers' counters and switch to centrally packed meat, which will involve the creation of 1,100 jobs at supplier factories in Swansea, Doncaster and Winsford.

Soleco is recruiting 50 additional staff for its Florette prepared salads factory near Lichfield.

Unilever Bestfoods is planning to build a £50m national distribution centre at Kingswood Lakeside, Staffordshire, with the creation of up to 300 jobs, and may transfer work from sites in Peterborough, Warrington and Worksop.

JK Foods' Nottingham-based ethnic foods supply business has undergone a management buy-out from Hyperama for undisclosed terms, and the business is being renamed Asiana.

Unilever is to sell Ambrosia, the Devon-based desserts manufacturer with 200 staff, and cornflour supplier Brown & Polson to Premier Foods for undisclosed terms.

Granelli's of Cheshire has acquired Harvest House Foods, the Tattenhall-based ice cream manufacturer.

Lasco, the Jamaican manufacturer of soy products, is to open a factory in Plymouth in February, with the creation of 120 jobs.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has sold the United Milk Creamery at Westbury in Wiltshire out of receivership to a consortium of three milk co-operatives operating under the name of Westbury Dairies.

Hazlewood Foods is creating about 100 jobs at its sandwich factory in Worksop, taking the workforce to over 2,000.

Seagull Foods is to create up to 20 new jobs at its frozen food distribution centre in Warminster, including vacancies in sales, transport, warehousing and administration.

WA Turner, the Kent-based sausage and pie manufacturer, has undergone a management buy-out from Prize Foods Group.

Scottish & Newcastle has sold the T&R Theakston brewing business in Yorkshire to its founding family.

United Dairy Farmers is to set up a £4.5m technical centre of excellence in Northern Ireland, in order to develop new dairy products for international markets using milk supplied by local farmers.

Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity has invested £2m in Enterprise Food Group, to fund the expansion of its Scottish bakery operations.

Grampian Country Foods is seeking permission from Vale Royal Borough Council to rebuild the former Harris Bacon factory in Winsford, which could create up to 400 jobs.

British Cattle Movement Service is to create 90 full-time jobs in Workington to update a new database, but 100 part-time agency jobs are being lost.

United Biscuits is planning a £10m expansion at its biscuit factory in Harlesden, London, with the creation of 200 jobs.

Kerry Group has acquired two US food ingredients suppliers for £37m - Da Vinci Gourmet of Seattle and Crystals International of Florida.

Youngs Bluecrest Seafood has acquired Marr Foods, the Hull-based fish processing company with 400 staff.

SA Brain has acquired William Stedman, the Caerleon-based beer, wine and spirits merchant with 27 staff.

Burton's Foods is to relocate its main trading, marketing and corporate finance teams from Blackpool to St Albans in January.

Korway Foods has bought Camp Brothers, the Lanarkshire-based ice cream manufacturer with 32 staff, out of receivership.

McLelland Cheese is to acquire Aeron Valley Cheese in Wales from Dairygold, with First Milk retaining a 20% stake.

Challenger Foods is seeking permission to expand its ready meals factory in Sunderland, with the creation of 40 jobs.

Glisten has acquired Sunya, the chocolate confectionery manufacturer, from Renshaw Scott for £0.8m, and production will transfer to its Blackburn factory.

Britannia Biscuits, the Teesside-based food manufacturer, has been bought out of receivership by a new company called Britannia Biscuits International.

Hancocks is planning to expand its chain of 14 confectionery wholesale depots over the next few years, having identified eight suitable sites in the south-east and one in Edinburgh.

Richmond Foods is to acquire Oldfields Ice Cream, the Sheffield-based manufacturer of ice cream products for the catering market, for £4m.

Hibernia Foods is investing £3m at its frozen ready meals factory in Hartlepool, with the creation of 100 jobs over the next 12 months.

Crouch Vale Brewery is looking into the possibility of relocating its Essex brewery from South Woodham to a larger site.

Dairy Crest has sold its Kidlington-based chilled juice business to Princes for about £11m.

Two Sisters (2 Sisters Food Group) is building a £7m chicken processing plant in the West Midlands, with the creation of up to 400 jobs.

Scottish & Newcastle is to relocate the Edinburgh headquarters of Scottish Courage and 200 staff to Broadway Park at nearby South Gyle in November.

Whyte & Mackay is to expand its whisky bottling plant in Grangemouth at a cost of £20m, but its plant in Edinburgh will close with the loss of 220 jobs.

Sygen is to acquire Cotswold Swine Genetics of the US for £1.7m, gaining seven genetic pig lines and an artificial insemination centre.

Perth & Kinross Council has approved plans for the expansion of Highland Spring's Blackford bottling plant, with the creation of 50 jobs by the end of the year.

Brandons, the turkey producer, has been bought out of administration by a new company called Cranberry Foods, saving 650 jobs in Abergavenny, 350 in Dalton and 200 in Scropton.

Scottish & Newcastle is to relocate its Scottish Courage sales and distribution centre in Bristol to a new £6m site for 180 staff at Cabot Park.

Rachel's Organic is planning a £3m expansion at its dairy products factory in Aberystwyth, with the creation of 50 jobs.

Stateside Foods, the Lancashire-based manufacturer of chilled pizzas with 750 staff, has been acquired by Freiberger of Germany for undisclosed terms.

Mission Foods is to create a further 50 jobs at its tortilla chip factory in Coventry.

Cumbrian Seafoods has bought the Border Lairds business of The Ken Bell Seafood Company out of administration, saving 32 jobs.

Glisten is planning to double capital expenditure in its Blackburn-based confectionery business to £0.5m this year.

Sygen International is to acquire Aquatec, the Brazilian shrimp breeding company, for £8.1m.

Dumfries & Galloway Council is considering plans from Dee Fish Scotland for the development of a shellfish farm near Kirkcudbright, which would create 16 jobs.

Interbrew is investing £11m in the development of a new beer bottling facility at its Magor plant near Newport by summer 2004, with the creation of 40 jobs.

Nestle is planning to transfer production of white chocolate products to York with the creation of 100 jobs, but 159 managerial and technical support jobs will be lost in Hayes.

Sygen is looking to spend up to £24m on the expansion of its shrimp business into countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and China, and is seeking acquisitions, joint ventures and licensing deals.

Cantrell & Cochrane has announced a £0.75m expansion by its Belfast-based drinks business Hollywood & Donnelly into the beer market, with the creation of ten jobs.

Scottish & Newcastle is in advanced negotiations to sell the Theakston brewery in North Yorkshire back to its founding family for undisclosed terms.

Shetland Enterprise has approved a £0.5m funding package for Blackwood Distillers for the development of a £3.8m distillery at Catfirth.

Premier Foods has announced plans for the £3m relocation of Branston Pickle production from Derbyshire to Bury St Edmunds, with the creation of 60 new jobs.

Place UK is to invest £0.75m in the expansion of its fruit and vegetable packing business in North Norfolk, with the creation of 20 jobs.

Northern Foods is to sell its Fox's Confectionery factory in Leicester to a newly-formed company called Big Bear for £9.4m, and is now looking to sell Smiths Flour Mills and Northern Foods Transport.

Nestle has sold its Eismann frozen food home delivery service in the UK to a management buy-out, and additional franchisees will now be sought to expand the business into Scotland, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Apetito is creating 40 new jobs at its frozen meals business in Trowbridge, having won a contract to supply the West Berkshire meals on wheels service.

Finsbury Food is planning to create about 100 new jobs at its Memory Lane Cakes factory in Cardiff, in order to produce cakes for Nestle.

Cherry Valley, the Lincolnshire-based duck producer with about 650 staff, is expected to be acquired by Thailand-based venture capital firm Navis.

McDonald Yang is to be acquired by shell company Readybuy and floated on Aim, in order to fund the expansion of its range of Yang Sing ready meals.

H&A Wines of Chorley has been bought out of administration by the owner of Halewood International for about £2.5m, saving up to 150 jobs.

WT Foods has acquired Marston Valley Foods, the manufacturer of chilled ready meals, for undisclosed terms.

Dalziel, the meat ingredients maker, is to relocate its distribution operation and 20 staff to a new site in Hebburn, in order to free up space for 25 additional manufacturing jobs in Gateshead.

Thorntons is seeking permission to build a new distribution centre at its chocolate factory in Somercotes, which could lead to the creation of 260 jobs over the next two years.

Shepherd Neame, the Kent-based brewery, has acquired a site in Faversham for £1.7m, in order to set up a distribution centre.

Country Style Foods is to take over the recently-closed Heinz pizza plant on Grimsby Docks, and production will re-start early next year with the creation of 200 jobs.

Lyons Seafoods, the Warminster-based prawn and seafood supplier with annual turnover of about £50m, has been acquired by SIF of Iceland.

NFU Cymru, the National Farmers Union in Wales, is to close its regional offices in Ruthin and Swansea in order to open a new headquarters in Builth Wells by the end of 2004.

British American Tobacco has acquired Ente Tabacchi Italiano, the Italian cigarette company, for £1.6bn.

Walkers Snack Foods has awarded a £3.5m contract to Grantside of York to build a warehouse in Peterlee.

Wilson Pitts, the Leeds-based insolvency firm, has sold The Great Northern Wine Company of Ripon to a former manager.

United Biscuits is to create more than 200 jobs at four McVitie's biscuit factories in London, Manchester, Carlisle and Glasgow.

Butcher & Baker Foods has been acquired by Wiltshire-based Apetito, prompting speculation about future job losses from the 200-strong workforce at its factory in Dudley.

Oakland International is to create 25 new jobs at its ready meals contract packing site in Redditch.

Glanbia has sold its pork butchery and abattoir operations in Tipton and West Bromwich to Flagship Foods for £8m, while its smaller abattoir in Gainsborough will be closed.

Thresher Group has acquired, the supplier of upmarket ready meals, for about £2m.

RHM has sold Haydens Bakeries of Devizes to the Real Good Food Company for undisclosed terms.

Redbridge Holdings has acquired the Stoke depot of Lambert Bros, in order to expand its farm produce wholesaling operation.

Baxters has acquired CCL Foods, the Colchester-based manufacturer of condiments and pickles.

Northern Foods has acquired the remaining 60% of Solway Foods, the manufacturer of salad meals and sandwiches with factories in Corby and Worksop, in a £27m deal.

Loseley Dairy Ice Cream has undergone a management buy-out from Thayers New England, and its factory will relocate from Cardiff to Cwmbran in September.

Libra Seafood Processing is to create 14 jobs at its new site at the Viking Enterprise Zone in Jarrow this year.

DARD, the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, has announced a £2.5m EU funding package for the food industry in Northern Ireland, enabling Dale Farm, Wilson's Country, Willowbrook Foods and seven other companies to invest in new facilities.

Weetabix is to announce plans to expand its breakfast cereals plant in Burton Latimer, which currently employs 1,600.

Golden Wonder is to invest £1m at its snack food factory in North Lincolnshire, including new equipment, production processes and staff training.

Lakeland Dairies has acquired Pritchitt Foods, which includes a milk processing plant in Newtownards and an office in Bromley, for £13m.

Bomfords has acquired Gerber Fresh Produce for undisclosed terms, in order to strengthen its position in legumes, vegetables, salads and fruits.

SodaStream is to close its factory in Peterborough in July with the loss of 30 jobs, as parent company Soda-Club plans to move its gas cylinder refilling and refurbishment department to Germany.

Fold Hill Foods is to create 20 new jobs and secure the future of 58 existing jobs having won a £1.2m grant to install new production lines at Old Leake, near Boston.

Dungannon Meats has awarded a £1.8m contract to Thyssen to extend its abattoir at Llanybyther in south Wales.

Invest NI is providing financial support for a £3.8m investment at McErlain's Bakery in Magherafelt, which will create 38 jobs over the next three years.

Carmarthenshire County Council is planning to develop a food park on a 50-acre site at Cross Hands near Llanelli, in order to create up to 200 jobs and act as a centre for agricultural produce companies such as Dawn Pac.

Greencore is selling J&J Tranfield, the Sheffield-based sausage manufacturer with 260 staff, to a management team for £5.6m.

Aviagen, the Edinburgh-based poultry breeding company, has been sold by BC Partners to private equity house Advent International for £255m.

Heveco Mushrooms is investing about £1m a year to increase mushroom production, including an expansion of its site in West Sussex and the possibility of acquisitions.

Carmarthenshire County Council is to consider plans from Buckley Bros Brands & Brewing for the development of a new brewery, pub and visitor centre in Llandeilo, with the creation of up to 30 jobs.

The Welsh Development Agency is in discussions with Oriel Jones about plans to establish a meat packing operation at the former Dairy Crest site in Carmarthen, which could create 300 jobs.

Tindale & Stanton, the Durham-based wholesale bakery chain with more than 300 staff, has undergone a management buy-out for undisclosed terms.

Crediton Poultry Company has sold its cooking division out of receivership to the Crediton Chicken Company, saving 57 jobs.

The Welsh Development Agency is supporting plans from Coleg Menai to set up a £0.7m food technology centre at its Pencraig campus on Anglesey, which could create 75 jobs.

Cobra Beer has raised £8.6m to fund the international expansion of its Indian-style lager, and is targeting India, South Africa and the US.

AstraZeneca has sold Marlow Foods, the manufacturer of Quorn substitute meat products, to Montagu Private Equity for £70m.

Graham's Dairies has bought Stevenson Dairy Farm at Cumnock in Ayrshire, increasing its headcount from 165 to 190.

Redbridge Holdings has acquired H Goodall, the Wolverhampton-based fresh produce wholesaler with 15 staff.

Invest NI is supporting plans by McColgan's Quality Foods to invest £6m in the expansion of its frozen and chilled foods factory in Strabane, with the creation of 30 jobs by the end of 2004.

McCowans, the Stenhousemuir-based toffee confectionery company with 70 staff, has been acquired by a management buy-in from Dutch consortium Phideas for £3m.

Grant Thornton has sold Droylsden-based Springs Bakery out of receivership to The Real Dough Company of Manchester, saving 55 jobs.

Angus Dundee Distillers is planning to reopen the Glencadam Distillery in Brechin, with the creation of up to 50 jobs.

Northern Foods is investing £2m in a new oven for its Pork Farm Bowyers factory in Trowbridge, in order to increase pie production by 25%.

Scatchard has sold its Merseyside-based wine and spirits wholesale division to JW Lees of Oldham for undisclosed terms, with the transfer of 12 staff.

The Soil Association is seeking a suitable site to build a new headquarters in Bristol, which will involve the relocation of about 140 staff from its current site in Victoria Street.

Hurst Parnell, the Bristol-based fruit and vegetable wholesaler with 70 staff, is under new ownership and finance for the deal was provided by Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance.

Co-operative Group is planning to acquire the Norpak chilled and frozen foods distribution business in Staffordshire from United Co-operatives for undisclosed terms.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has sold Oriental Express Frozen Foods, the Norfolk-based ready meals company, out of receivership to a management buy-out, saving 150 jobs.

JE Wilson & Sons has acquired Duncan's, the Lanarkshire-based confectionery manufacturer, for undisclosed terms.

Global Group has announced that its Canterbury Foods subsidiary is to sell the Spacehire cold storage and vegetable freezing operation in Goole to Mulberry Foods for £1.9m.

Fenland District Council is considering plans from Garden Isle Frozen Foods for the development of a new processing plant at its site in Wisbech.

East End Foods is to build a new rice mill at its site in West Bromwich this year, with the creation of 150 jobs.

Scottish & Newcastle is to acquire HP Bulmer, the Hereford-based cider maker, for £278m, and has also announced the acquisition of Portuguese brewer Central de Cervejas.

Unilever is seeking a 125,000 sq ft temporary head office site in London, in preparation for the refurbishment of its existing site on Victoria Embankment.

Tamar Foods is to create 120 new jobs at its factory in Callington, having won a contract to supply savoury pasties to an unnamed supermarket chain.

Rachel's Organic is looking to launch its yoghurt and dairy products in France and Ireland, while it continues to expand its Aberystwyth production facility and 88-strong workforce.

Dawnfresh Seafoods is investing £1m in the expansion of its plant in Lanarkshire, including a new dry goods store and a chilled storage area.

AC Ward has acquired the Saxton grocery wholesale business of BWG, and will relocate its own operation to the Saxton depot at West Thurrock.

Glanbia Cheese is investing £12m at its pizza cheese manufacturing plant in Magheralin, Northern Ireland, with the creation of 16 jobs.

Burn Stewart has acquired the Black Bottle whisky brand and the Islay single malt Bunnahabhain, together with the Bunnahabhain distillery, from Glasgow-based Edrington for about £10m.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has sold Oriental Express Frozen Foods of Fakenham out of receivership to a management team, securing the future of more than 150 jobs.

Markbeech Products, the Rowley Regis-based supplier of coconut products, has been bought out of administration by Singapore-based First Grade Agency, securing 42 jobs.

Sweetmans, the operator of 26 shops and three bakeries across South Wales, has undergone a management buy-out for undisclosed terms, and is now planning to open eight new shops over the next two years.

Castle MacLellan is to invest £1.9m in new equipment for its pate factory in Kirkcudbright over the next two years, and the 52-strong workforce is expected to increase.

The Welsh Development Agency has launched the £3m AqWa project to expand the fish farming sector in Wales, and 80 jobs will be created through the development of up to 50 farm-based production systems.

Express Dairies has agreed terms for a merger with the UK division of Arla Foods, which could lead to annual cost savings of more than £20m.

Union Snack is planning to expand the 58-strong workforce at its pretzel factory in County Durham, due to rising demand for UK retailers.

McLelland Cheese has announced plans to build a £13m packing centre in Stranraer, with the creation of 44 jobs.

3663 (Three Double Six Three) is to set up a 75,000 sq ft cold storage and food distribution centre at Langley Mill near Nottingham in September.

Armitage, the Nottingham-based pet food manufacturer with factories in Stockport, Ashton-under-Lyne, Pinxton and Dundee, has agreed to a £8.1m takeover offer from Focus100.

Robert Wiseman is investing a further £7m at its Droitwich dairy, having won a number of new milk supply contracts.

Kingswinford Jobcentre is assisting Simply Delish establish a new catering business in Kingswinford, with the creation of up to 30 jobs for Italian, Chinese and Indian chefs.

Solanum is to merge with RB Organics, Rustler Produce and Isleham to create a new vegetable supply group called Produce World.

Lark Valley Foods has completed a £3m extension at its bacon packing factory in Bury St Edmunds, with the creation of more than 100 jobs.

Ebac is creating 50 new jobs at its factory in Bishop Auckland, to cope with rising demand for its water coolers from schools across the country.

Waveney District Council has approved plans for a £5m expansion at the Buxted chicken processing plant in Flixton, securing the future of 600 jobs.

Stonegate Farmers is to shed 40 jobs at its egg-packing operation near Liskeard, in order to relocate the business to Chippenham and Wolverhampton.

3663 First for Foodservice (Three Double Six Three) has acquired Swithenbank Foods, the supplier of chilled and fresh foods.

Glanbia is seeking acquisitions to expand its food manufacturing business, and is particularly interested in areas such as nutritional ingredients.

KPMG has secured the sale of Country Bakehouse, the Llandudno Junction-based cakes factory with 90 staff, out of receivership to Martins Cakes of Manchester.

ChocExpress is creating 40 new jobs at its chocolate delivery business in Royston.

Butcombe, the Bristol-based independent brewery with 15 staff, has been acquired by the former owners of The Beer Seller.

Loch Fyne Oysters, the Scottish seafood company, is to be acquired by its own staff, in a deal backed by the Baxi employee-ownership trust and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

TMI Foods, the Northampton-based bacon and vegetable supplier, has undergone a management buy-out backed by Bank of Scotland.

Scrabster Seafoods has secured £0.3m from Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise to build a £1m fish grading and packaging factory at Scrabster Harbour, with the creation of 14 jobs.

Geest is to acquire Genevieve Langlais, the French supplier of prepared salads, for £11m.

Abbey Vale Bakery of Devon has been bought out of administration by Averda, and the 75-strong workforce is expected to increase as Averda develops new ideas for the food-to-go market.

Finsbury Food Group is to acquire Nicholas & Harris for up to £5m, and will transfer N&H's cake manufacture from Basingstoke to Cardiff and concentrate all speciality bread production at the N&H site in Salisbury.

Genus, the cattle breeding company, has acquired RAB Australia for £3.6m, and has also announced plans to sell or close its market research division.

Macrae Food Group is to close its fish processing factory in Peterhead and hopes to relocate most of the 110 staff to its site in Fraserburgh.

Amelca, the operator of a new dairy near Burton-on-Trent, is being bought out of receivership by start-up company Starcross Food.

Parmalat Dairies is to close its yoghurt production plant at Mildenhall, Suffolk, with the loss of up to 150 jobs, in order to relocate production to Kendal and administration to the Egham head office.

United Dairy Farmers has acquired Dale Farm Ice Cream, as part of a strategy to expand its added value foods business in Northern Ireland.

Renshaw Scott has sold Beech's Fine Chocolates, the Preston-based confectioner with 75 staff, to a management buy-out.

Lay & Wheeler, the wine company, is to relocate its headquarters from Colchester to Holton St Mary in Suffolk, and a new 200,000 sq ft distribution centre will open in Burton on Trent in March.

S&A Foods has resumed its search for a suitable site in Staffordshire to build a ready meals factory.

Bako North Western has acquired the bakery sundries business of John Morley's of Congleton for undisclosed terms.

North East Lincolnshire Council is helping Roberts Food set up a Yorkshire puddings factory at the former Seagull fish plant in Grimsby with the creation of 70 jobs, following a recent fire at its site in Leeds.

Inter Link Foods is to acquire Soreen, the Manchester-based malt loaf manufacturer, from Warburtons for £8.4m.

Tarsus has sold its London-based organic food exhibition, Organex, to Diversified Business Communications for £0.7m.

Dare Valley Poultry, the Merthyr Tydfil-based poultry company with 105 staff, has been acquired by Cargill Integra of the US.

Adnams has started work on a £2.5m expansion at its brewery in Suffolk, including the installation of new liquor tanks and fermentation vessels.

AB Produce has started work on the development of a £3.7m food processing plant at the Westminster Industrial Estate in Measham, which will prepare vegetables for catering outlets.

Uniq has sold Uniqsauces, the Lancashire-based manufacturer of sauces and mayonnaise, to the UK subsidiary of US firm McCormick for £12m.

Unilever is planning to sell its Frigedoc frozen foods business in France to Toupargel for £52m.

Playford Ros, the Thirsk-based wine merchant with £4m turnover and 25 staff, has undergone a management buy-out for undisclosed terms.