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Profits up for Uniq.

MARKS & Spencer food supplier Uniq reported better sandwich sales and reduced losses in desserts as it gears up for its takeover by food firm Greencore.

Underlying profits rose by 47% to pounds 4.7m in the six months to June 30 after Food to Go sales rose by 9%, offsetting an 8% fall for desserts.

Uniq's 1,900 workforce makes sandwiches from a site in Northampton, salads at Spalding and desserts at Evercreech, Somerset and Minsterley in Shropshire.

It is now 90.2% owned by its pension fund after a deal that saw pounds 436m of liabilities swapped for shares in the firm, which is the last remaining part of dairy giant Unigate.

The conglomerate once boasted 30,000 staff in the UK, Europe and North America, but its dairy business was sold to Dairy Crest in 2000 before its logistics business Wincanton was demerged a year later.

Greencore, which employs 7,000 people and has 20 sites in the UK, Ireland and the USA, announced in July that it planned to buy Uniq in order to bolster its scale in the food-to-go and chilled desserts categories.

The Office of Fair Trading is looking at the deal with a decision expected by the end of the month.

Uniq said that profits at Food to Go, which includes sandwiches and salads for the Co-op and coffee chain Costa as well as M&S, rose to pounds 5.8m from pounds 5m, offset by losses of pounds 1.1m in desserts.

The firm revealed a further pounds 20m write-down for the previously announced closure of the Everyday desserts business, which will take place in June next year.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 17, 2011
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