Princes seals landmark deal to produce Capri-Sun in move that will create dozens of Yorkshire jobs 

Liverpool’s Princes Foods Group has secured a landmark deal to start packing the famous Capri-Sun juice pouches in the UK in a move that will create dozens of jobs.

Princes, based in the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, has signed a deal with German group Capri- Sun Group Holding AG, to produce over 250m pouches annually at the Princes factory in Bradford.

It follows Capri-Sun’s recent decision to bring sales and production in-house, following a long-term relationship with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP). Four production lines will be transferred from CCEP to Princes Bradford, creating up to 60 jobs there.

Production will start in the autumn and all lines will be fully operational by spring 2025. As part of the transition process, Princes has already started offering warehousing and logistics services to Capri-Sun.

Bradford is the group’s biggest soft drinks site in the UK and already employs some 400 people across eight production lines. It makes fizzy pop, concentrated squashes and ready-to-drink products both for its own brands and for other well-known companies.

It will be packing two Capri-Sun formats: 200ml pouches with paper straws and 330ml pouches with a screw cap. Meanwhile Capri-Sun is also moving to recyclable pouches and introducing tethered caps on the 330ml variants “to support its ambition of becoming the UK’s most sustainable children’s soft drinks brand”.

Capri-Sun Group Holding AG is a privately held company, owned by Hans-Peter Wild. Capri-Sun launched in 1969 and calls itself “the top kids drink brand worldwide”, selling more than 6bn pouches in over 100 countries every year.

Andy Hargraves, group commercial director for Drinks at Princes, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be bringing Capri-Sun pouches to Bradford – the new UK home of this iconic and much-loved brand. Establishing this partnership is a significant milestone in the continued growth of our drinks business, creating around 50-60 new job opportunities in the local area. Princes is looking forward to partnering with Capri-Sun to support their ambitions now, and in the future.”

Stefan Seiss at Capri-Sun Group Holding AG, said: “We are very excited to go into this collaboration between Princes and Capri-Sun. Over the last months the supply chain and engineering departments were working very closely together to prepare the transition of the production lines into the Bradford site. It is great to see that the expertise and the positive attitude on both sides will deliver a new production setup to fulfil the demand and the quality to support the growth of Capri-Sun in Great Britain.”

Princes is one of the UK’s biggest food and drink groups, with its own brands including Princes tinned fish, Jucee squash, Olivio olive oil, and Crosse & Blackwell soups. As well as its UK factories and Liverpool head office, it has operations in the Netherlands, Poland and France, with tomato processing in Italy and tuna processing in Mauritius.

Three Capri-Sun pouches surrounded by fruit
Capri-Sun juice pouches remain popular with children

The group said in January that “extraordinary inflationary pressures” had pushed it into the red. In its accounts for the year to March 31, 2023, Princes reported revenues of £1.74bn, up from £1.44bn in 2022. But it reported a pre-tax loss of £50.7m in 2023, compared to a profit of £28.9m in 2022.

Princes was put on the market by owner Mitsubishi last year, with bidders reported to be Italian group Newlat Food and London private equity firm Epiris. In February, Newlat pulled out of the bidding as its latest offer was rejected.

It said: “Newlat Food conducted an in-depth analysis on the strategic integration of Princes and, considering the challenging market environment in the United Kingdom, marked by a decrease in demand and a significant drop in inflation, which is expected to lead to pressures on both sales volume and on retailers’ demands for price reductions, the Company deemed it appropriate to revise the values proposed in the initial offer. This last offer was not accepted by the seller, Mitsubishi Corporation.

“Newlat Food remains open to re-evaluating the target should the seller be willing to reconsider the sale based on the last offer presented.”

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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