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Potential buyers eye up Norwich firm

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:25 02 July 2010

Kettle Foods factory

Kettle Foods factory

Potential bidders to buy Kettle Foods are to carry-out site visits to the firm's Norwich headquarters in the next few weeks.

Potential bidders to buy Kettle Foods are to carry-out site visits to the firm's Norwich headquarters in the next few weeks .

A number of blue-chip food groups are believed to be among companies planning to visit the Barnard Road factory in Bowthorpe with an interest in buying the business.

Kettle, which employs more than 370 people in Norwich, confirmed that its owner, Lion Capital, had received a number of approaches from would-be buyers.

The news follows months of speculation about Kettle's future and reports that Lion Capital was looking for a sale price in excess of £400m.

Lion Capital had bought the upmarket Kettle Chips maker for about £170m in 2006.

United Biscuits and PepsiCo were touted last month by the Wall Street Journal as possible buyers.

Last night Kettle Foods managing director Jeremy Bradley was tight-lipped about which firms would be visiting the Norwich site.

But Mr Bradley added: "Kettle Foods is doing well, we are building a great brand and can see strong opportunities to keep on growing.

"Lion Capital has received a number of approaches from parties interested in buying the business and consequently we have been asked to host several visits over the coming weeks.

"As you would expect, we cannot comment on the identity of the interested parties.

"Whether an offer for the business is made that Lion Capital find acceptable very much remains to be seen."

According to Kettle's most recent accounts, turnover rose in 2008 by about £10m to £59m compared to the year before. Pre-tax profits rose by about £2.5m to £10.9m.

Last year the firm was named as one of the UK's "coolest" consumer brands in a poll by the research organisation, Superbrands.

Do you have a business story for the Evening News? Contact Sam Williams on 01603 772447 or email sam.wiliams@archant.co.uk

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