FENLAND: MBM sells off its potato division to main rival but March based jobs are secured

PUBLISHED: 12:41 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:54 02 June 2010

Pepe Bascetta

Pepe Bascetta

EXCLUSIVE By John Elworthy AN East Anglian potato firm – formed two years ago after a management buy out- has sold a major part of its business to its principal competitor. MBM Produce has sold its £27 million a year fresh potato division to Lincolnshire

EXCLUSIVE

By John Elworthy

AN East Anglian potato firm - formed two years ago after a management buy out- has sold a major part of its business to its principal competitor.

MBM Produce has sold its £27 million a year fresh potato division to Lincolnshire based QV Foods headed by multi millionaire farmer Duncan Worth.

Pepe Bascetta, who became the principal shareholder of MBM following the buy out from Premier Foods, confirmed that he expected contracts to be exchanged later today for the sale of the business.

He said the 140 jobs affected by the sale at the company's sites in March, Cambridgeshire, and in parts of Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Scotland would transfer to QV Foods.

"Both businesses have been competing head to head which was not a productive way of doing business," said Mr Bascetta. "This is a more constructive way of moving forward. There will be no redundancies."

He said MBM would retain a "significant part" of the business, mainly on the industrial side involving peeling operations and these would continue at March.

"I can confirm a deal has been done with QV Foods which will see the transfer of the retail service," said Mr Bascetta. "In basic terms it was a straight forward commercial decision to sell this part of the company."

Simon Martin, of Holbeach based QV Foods, said a team had been working out of March in recent days pending the formal take over.

"The facilities and team at March will enable further expansion of the QV business from the site and will resolve the constraints which recent growth has highlighted at the Holbeach site."

He added: "This is an exciting opportunity for staff, customers and suppliers of both companies as it offers stability and continuity as well as opportunity."

Businessman and farmer Duncan Worth- the fourth generation of the Worth family to run the family farms- owns 4,500 acres in South Lincolnshire with 850 acres given over to potatoes. They employ over 340 staff and with an annual turn over of around £50 million.


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