Sarson's Vinegar joins Hartley's jam in a sale process

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 | DIVISION SALE

Premier Foods has commenced the sale of its Sarson’s Vinegar brand in a bid to secure new loan terms with its bankers by the end of March.

The sale of the Middleton pickles business - including Sarson's - also comes as Mike Clarke, the new chief executive, works to turn the company around.

The food group has also sped up the disposal process for its jams business, which has been on the market for some time already. It has been predicted that Hartley’s will be valued at around £170 million - £200 million.

It is thought the Sarson’s vinegar brand, which has been going for over two centuries, will generate £30 million in a sale. Potential buyers, bankers said, include food producer Symington’s, Princes, and oil and condiment firms based overseas.

Though a very old brand, Sarson’s is still a very popular condiment added to nearly nine in every ten portions of chips, the Financial Times said.

In November, Premier Foods’ lenders, headed by Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank, granted the troubled company a grace period to the end of March. Premier aims to agree new loan terms in February.

Premier Foods share price has remained at around 30p for most of the past two years, where at its peak in 2007 the share price was 300p.

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