UK bakery group Hovis has struck a deal to sell two of its mills and outlined plans to close another, after announcing a £11.7m loss after tax. Hovis Ltd said up to 71 jobs would go with the mill closure in Southampton, while sites in Manchester and Selby would transfer to Whitworth Bros Ltd. The company’s fourth mill, in Wellingborough in central England, will remain. The “significantly loss-making” Southampton mill, at Western Docks in the city, will close at the end of the year, the firm said. Wellingborough mill will continue to supply flour to the Hovis brand.
The company also said warehouse and logistics operations in DHL Bawtry, DHL Southampton and DSV Belfast will cease at the end of the year. The company employs about 3,500 people at 19 UK sites, producing Hovis, Mothers Pride and supermarket-branded products.
Chief executive Nish Kankiwala said, “ We are committed to our strategy of becoming the best quality brand in baking and will focus our investment on our core baking business. As a result, we have taken the decision to exit three milling sites, and to integrate Wellingborough Mill into the Hovis baking supply chain, ensuring the continued delivery of high-quality flour to the Hovis brand.”
Kankiwala added: “Going forward, there is no doubt the bread market will remain extremely challenging. However, we are confident our strategy to become a focused, fully-integrated manufacturer of bakery products will allow us to further strengthen our successful business.”