NORTHERN Foods has boosted its balance sheet by completing a £250m debt refinancing deal.
The Leeds-based group, which yesterday deferred a decision on the future of its Fox’s Biscuits factory at Batley, negotiated the finance facility from a banking syndicate led by Royal Bank of Scotland.
The package refinances Northern’s existing debt and provides the group with continued support until 2012.
Northern Foods employs more than 10,000 staff at 21 sites around the UK.
It supplies biscuits, frozen pizzas, soups, puddings, salads and sandwiches to customers including Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Asda.
Stefan Barden, chief executive of Northern Foods, said: “We are pleased to have new finance arrangements in place.
“Given the current economic environment, we believe the securing of this facility is testament to the strength of the business and its prospects for further progress.”
Northern Foods is undertaking a “rigorous” evaluation of its plans to merge its Fox’s Biscuits factories at Batley and Uttoxeter, Staffordshire – and build a new £40m factory at one or other of the sites.
The group had been expected to make a decision by the end of the month, but the 1,200 employees at Batley site will now have to wait another year before finding out whether or not their plant is to close.