Typhoo Tea is planning to close its Merseyside factory in a move affecting up to 90 jobs, as part of its ongoing restructuring and turnaround attempt.
The company is exploring options for a new site but said it would be at least a year before a suitable location was ready.
The move to close the ageing tea blending and packing facility in Moreton, which will result in the job losses, was designed to protect the future of one of Britain’s oldest brands, Typhoo added.
“Unfortunately, the spiralling cost of energy and materials, alongside low levels of productivity achievable at Moreton, make it necessary to close the loss-making site,” executive chairman Mike Brehme said.
“We are actively exploring options for a new site, but it will be some time before a suitable location is identified, fitted out and ready.”
He added the business had “a robust plan” in place to meet the demand for Typhoo products and ensuring supplies to customers continued uninterrupted.
“The regrettable but necessary changes allow Typhoo to realign its ambitions and refocus on the customer whilst ensuring the same high level of service and great quality tea you expect from one of the UK’s oldest and most recognised brands,” Brehme said.
Typhoo moved to the Moreton factory – where it packs about 10,000 tonnes of tea a year – in the 1970s.
The brand, which traces its roots back to 1903, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year.
Brehme said the changes announced today set the business up for the next generation of tea drinkers.
He also thanked all colleagues who “have contributed so much in recent, challenging times”. “We will do all that we can to assist everyone affected by this announcement.”
About 25 employees are expected to remain with the business, which employs 115 in total, and they will relocate to a hub to oversee the day-to-day management of the restructured organisation.
Typhoo has undergone numerous changes in recent years as it battles a structural decline in the black tea market, Brexit-related uncertainty, currency headwinds and spiking raw materials costs.
The business has been lossmaking for four years in a row, with the most up-to-date accounts at Companies House showing an improved pre-tax loss of £10.5m in the 18 months to 30 September 2021 thanks to a restructure at the Moreton factory boosting operational efficiency.
Losses at the group since 2017/18 have totalled more than £76m as sales tumbled from £70m-plus to just £54.6m in the 18-month 2020/21 financial period.
London-based PE firm Zetland acquired control of Typhoo in July 2021 and Brehme, the co-founder of Clipper teas, stepped up as executive chairman to replace outgoing CEO Des Kingsley in June 2022.
He told The Grocer in July a transformation was underway at the business.