Tangerine says no plan to shut factory in York

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Tangerine Confectionery has insisted it has no plans to close its York factory, despite ordering workers to stay at home in Easter week.

The Low Poppleton Lane plant, recently acquired from Cadbury Schweppes, has been shut since Easter Monday with Tangerine citing high stocks and a seasonal lull in sales.

However, MD Chris Marshall, said the factory remained key to Tangerine's plans. "We have absolutely no plans to close factories," Marshall said. "All our focus is to drive sales up so we can optimise capacities. Closure is not part of our discussions and never has been."

The York site, which produces gums and jellies, is one of three factories acquired by Tangerine as part of its £58m purchase of Monkhill from Cadbury Schweppes last month.

The Blackpool company has also taken over the running of Monkhill's factories in Pontefract and Cleckheaton as well as a distribution centre in Holmewood. Marshall said Tangerine had inherited so much stock from Cadbury that the York factory would have been forced to shut in weeks had it continued to produce at previous levels.

Easter is traditionally a sluggish period for sugar confectionery as consumers stock up on chocolate gifts and this year the lull had been exacerbated by Easter falling at its earliest since 1913, said Marshall.

Staff had been offered a choice of paid or unpaid holiday during the closure, said a spokesman, adding that no manufacturing jobs would go at York.

Earlier this month, chairman Steven Joseph said that there would be few changes to the manufacturing part of Tangerine's business following the purchase of Monkhill. He did, however, admit some clerical and financial jobs could be lost where duplication existed.

Tangerine expects the purchase of Monkhill to more than double annual turnover. The UK's largest independent confectionery supplier is already on course to achieve sales this year in the region of £76m.

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