Booker sells Loseley after slow freeze in tough market

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The Independent Online
LOSELEY, the real ice-cream and live yoghurt maker, has been sold by Booker, the food group, for an undisclosed sum, writes Neil Thapar.

The brand, which has attracted a following among health-food aficionados, has been struggling in a tough market for premium ice- creams and yoghurts.

Although Booker refused to disclose the sale price, the deal is believed to be worth less than Loseley's book value of pounds 3m. It had a turnover of about pounds 9m last year.

Loseley's ice-cream business has been acquired by Tudor Dairies, an independent company, while the chilled business, mainly producing yoghurt, has been bought by Tim Henniker-Parker, an entrepreneur. The disposal is part of Booker's strategy to concentrate on core food manufacturing businesses serving the mass market.

'At the half-year we said that we planned to become more focused,' Jonathan Taylor, Booker's chairman, said. 'It is appropriate that Loseley's ice-cream and yoghurt should be owned and developed separately by companies operating in these specialised markets.'

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