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Paramount axes 118 jobs after losing Morrisons contract

By Mike Stones , 10-Oct-2012
Last updated on 26-Nov-2012 at 15:32 GMT2012-11-26T15:32:37Z

One of the UK’s largest manufacturers of chilled and frozen pizzas, Paramount Foods, has made 118 workers − more than 25% of its workforce − redundant after losing a key contract to supply Morrisons.

From a total workforce of 450, 76 jobs will be axed at the firm’s Deeside Industrial Park. A further 42 jobs will be lost at Paramount’s site in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Announcing the job losses yesterday (October 9), David Whitehouse, of administrator Duff & Phelps, said: “Regrettably, a number of redundancies were required in order to provide the opportunity to continue to trade the business in the short term.”

Paramount Foods makes the bases of its pizza products at its Salford site, which are later finished at its Deeside facility.

Search for a buyer

Initially the joint administrators suspended operations but trading has now resumed while administrators search for a buyer for the business.

On Monday, Whitehouse said: “While the company has incurred trading losses historically, the recent loss of a major customer has left the company without any prospect of returning to profitability in line with a turnaround plan embarked upon in July this year.”

A spokesman for Duff & Phelps confirmed to FoodManufacture.co.uk that it was the loss of a key contract to supply Morrisons that sparked Paramount’s financial crisis.

Key contract to supply Morrisons

But Whitehouse added that “urgent discussions were held with key customers and parties who may be interested in acquiring some or all of the business”.

Paramount moved to its Deeside plant 14 years ago when it acquired a disused Heinz sauce production plant.

Flintshire council has pledged to help the redundant workers find new employment in the area.

Paramount Foods makes frozen and chilled pizzas for Sainsbury, Asda and Tesco.

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