118 Paramount Foods pizza workers face job losses

Workers console each other after learning a quarter will lose their jobs

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More than a quarter of the 450 staff at one of the UK's biggest makers of frozen pizzas will lose their jobs after the firm went into administration.

Paramount Foods employs 312 people on the Deeside Industrial Park and another 138 in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Administrators says 76 jobs will go on Deeside with another 42 in Salford following a meeting with staff earlier.

A buyer is being sought for the firm, which is still trading.

The bases of the firm's pizza products are baked at the Salford site and finished at the Deeside plant.

In a statement, administrators Duff and Phelps said: "Since it was announced that Paramount Foods went into administration, the joint administrators have had a number of discussions with customers, suppliers and potential buyers.

"The positive support shown by the company's key customers has ensured that Paramount Foods will remain trading while a buyer is found.

"It is with regret though that as part of the restructuring process that a number of jobs have been made redundant - a total of 118, 76 of which are based at the Deeside factory.

"The company is however still trading and the joint administrators are actively seeking a buyer for the business."

Operations had been suspended at both sites while "urgent discussions" took place with key customers and parties who may be interested in buying some or all of the business.

But David Whitehouse from Duff and Phelps said on Tuesday afternoon: "As a result of those conversations with the positive support we have received from key customers, the company has resumed trading with the aim of securing an on-going trade sale of the business and its assets.

"Regrettably a number of redundancies were required in order to provide the opportunity to continue to trade the business in the short term."

Paramount had moved to Deeside in 1998, with plans to become one of the largest pizza making centres of Europe, after taking over a mothballed Heinz sauce manufacturing plant.

The loss of a major contract, understood to be with a major supermarket chain, has led to the company falling into administration.

On Monday, Mr Whitehouse said: "Whilst 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."

Flintshire council said it will do what it can to support local workers who need to find new employment.

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