Golden Wonder administrators save 335 jobs with sale to Tayto

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The Independent Online

The bankrupt crisps and snack maker Golden Wonder, whose brands include Golden Lights, Nik-Naks and Ringos, has been sold to the Northern Ireland crisps group Tayto.

After weeks of negotiations with the company's administrators, Tayto acquired the Golden Wonder manufacturing facility at Scunthorpe yesterday for an undisclosed sum, safeguarding 335 jobs at the site. A further 195 jobs were saved last month when another subsidiary of Tayto bought Golden Wonder's Mini Pringles manufacturing business at Corby, which will continue to produce Mini Pringles for Procter & Gamble.

Under yesterday's deal, Tayto also purchased Golden Wonder's portfolio of crisps brands. The family-owned Ulster firm will sell two of the six brands - Nik-Naks and Wheat Crunchies - to United Biscuits but will continue to make them for United Biscuits.

The deal means Tayto has snapped up Golden Wonder's two manufacturing plants and all of its brands since the company was forced to call in administrators at the beginning of January after racking up crippling losses in the past two years. The acquisition catapults Tayto, Northern Ireland's No 1 crisps brand, from about £15m annual sales to £100m.

The administrators, the restructuring experts Kroll, are reviewing their plans for Golden Wonder's headquarters in Market Harborough after failing to secure a buyer for the site. Kroll said 15 jobs had been axed at the head office but Tayto agreed to take on 21 staff from the site. Kroll will keep a further 12 workers to assist them with the remaining administration process.

The administrator, Peter Holder, said: "We are delighted that we have reached a deal with an affiliate company of the Tayto Group, which effectively secures 335 jobs, as well as the much-loved brands of Golden Wonder. During the administration a total of 551 jobs have been saved."

Before going into administration, Golden Wonder employed some 850 people. It has long battled against tough competition from the market leader, the crisps giant Walkers, which is owned by the snack giant PepsiCo. Golden Wonder, once the UK's favourite crisps brand, saw sales and market share decline as a result.