Mixed response to Northern Foods and Greencore merger plan
Shares in Northern Foods have jumped 24% after the maker of Fox’s biscuits and Goodfella’s pizzas revealed plans to merge with Irish rival Greencore.
The new combined company, to be named Essenta, will have annual sales of around £1.7 billion (€2bn) and be headquartered in Dublin. The merger terms will see shareholders in the two firms end up with roughly equal ownership of the new company.
However, workers’ union Unite says that while the markets may have reacted well to the news, its workers are feeling far more cautious.
“Talk of synergies and savings usually mean job losses, pay cuts and contract changes,” says Jennie Formby, Unite’s national officer for the food and drink sector. “These companies are not in debt so there is no need for them to squeeze the two workforces through this merger.
Workers will be frightened.
“We expect to be invited to meet with the new management team as a matter of urgency, not only to ensure they will make good on their promise of only modest redundancies but to make sure any job losses are voluntary. Unite will also be pressing for commitments to uphold all agreements on pay, pensions and conditions, as well as for investment in the merged company.”