Belfast Telegraph

Boyne the victor in battle for food firm

The makers of Boyne Valley Honey have signed a €41.1m (£34.5m) deal to buy a portfolio of well-known food brands, including Erin soup and Chivers jams.

Privately-owned Boyne Valley Group is understood to have beaten rival interest from Irish competitors DCC and Valeo Foods to secure the deal.

London-listed Premier Foods has confirmed that it had signed the deal to sell its Chivers jam, Gateaux cakes, McDonnells noodles and Erin soup brands to Boyne Valley Group.

Boyne Valley will pay €41.1m in cash for the brands. Premier said the Irish brands being sold were valued at €39.2m (£32.9m) at the end of last year. However, further investment will be required under the new owners to develop the brands once the deal completes.

Privately-owned Boyne Valley Group is best known as the producers of Boyne Valley Honey, but its range of brands includes Kileen cleaning products, Don Carlos olive oils, Panda peanut butter and the Lakeshore mustard brand.

The Drogheda-based company also has the licences to distribute Pepsi, Walkers Crisps and the Tropicana juice brands in Ireland. The most recent Boyne Valley accounts filed with the Companies Office date back to 2004. At the time, turnover was €76m (£63.8m) and the business generated profits of €11m (£9.2m).

Though little known to the wider public, company founder and owner Malachy McCloskey has near legendary status in the grocery sector, and has been responsible for decades of export replacement since the business was founded.

The firm is managed by CEO John Harkin, and former C-amp;C and Quinnsworth boss Maurice Pratt is non-executive director.

Mr Harkin said: "We are pleased to be acquiring these strong and well-established brands with a loyal customer base. With additional investment, we believe we can grow these brands further. They fit well within our existing food portfolio which includes olive oil, relishes, home-baking and honey."

The four brands are collectively called Premier Foods Ireland and are based in Dublin with 57 employees.