Northern buys maker of Poppets for pounds 10m

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NORTHERN FOODS, the food producer, yesterday bought the Paynes confectionery business from tea company James Finlay for around pounds 10m in cash.

Paynes's turnover in 1997 was pounds 17m, and it came in with pre-tax profits of pounds 141,000. Its products include the chocolate confectionery brands Poppets and Just Brazils, and Lift instant lemon tea.

The move is the final stage of James Finlay's restructuring, and follows the sale of its financial services arm and other non-core businesses.

The proceeds of the sale will be used to buy tea plantations in Sri Lanka, the company said.

Photograph: Mykel Nicolaou