Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels maker Burton’s has sold its chocolate factory in Merseyside as part of a wider supply deal with Swiss chocolate giant Barry Callebaut.
Zurich-headquartered Barry Callebaut – the world’s biggest chocolate supplier – has snapped up the lease for the refinery in Moreton, Wirral, and will take on the 48 staff currently employed by Burton’s.
It has also struck a long-term deal to supply more than 12,000 tonnes of chocolate a year to Burton’s.
This deal is also a clear sign of our commitment to support the growth of our business in the UK market.Antoine de Saint-Affrique, chief executive of Barry Callebaut
But the move sees Burton’s end the last of its manufacturing operations in Moreton, having already closed its biscuit factory in the village in 2011.
Barry Callebaut – which supplies chocolate in around one in every four chocolate products sold – said the deal will help it expand its manufacturing capability in the UK, which it sees as a growth market for the group.
It already owns a site in Banbury, Oxfordshire, which employs around 250 staff.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, is expected to close by the end of 2018.
Nick Field, chief executive of Burton’s Food, said: “Barry Callebaut shares our passion and motivation for baking the best quality products for our customers and consumers.
“This new partnership, with their larger network and enhanced capabilities, directly supports our intent and commitment to maintain and enhance our industry-leading chocolate biscuit offering.”
Barry Callebaut’s chief executive Antoine de Saint-Affrique said the deal was a “clear sign of our commitment to support the growth of our business in the UK market”.
Andy Fleming, commecial director at Barry Callebaut, added: “We are chocolate lovers in the UK and Barry Callebaut has been present here for several decades with our plant in Banbury and we are committed to our customers in the UK.”
St Albans-headquartered Burton’s owns three other manufacturing sites across the UK – in Blackpool, Edinburgh, and Llantarnam – and employs around 1,800 people.
After changing hands several times between private equity firms, Burton’s was bought in 2013 by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in 2013 in a £350 million deal.