Italian chocolate maker Ferrero says it will retain Thorntons’ Alfreton factory if its proposed takeover of the business is successful.
The bid which values the business at £112m, has been backed by the Thorntons’ board.
Thorntons, which uses DHL for its logistics, issued a profits warning at Christmas 2014 citing “significant short-term difficulties with our new centralised warehouse which resulted in disruption for all our customers. In particular in our UK Commercial channel we experienced lost and late sales with consequent missed promotional slots and reorders.”
However, it said the warehousing and distribution facility was now working normally. “The move to a centralised warehouse was essential to meet current and future business patterns and growth. This will result in improved capacity and quality of service for our customers in the future.”
The other principal challenge cited in the Christmas trading update was a significant reduction in previously indicated orders from the major grocers who also took in stock later than anticipated.
Ferrero, which is family owned, said that following completion of the offer, it intends to work with the management and employees of Thorntons to grow the business.
“The first step to achieving this goal will be conducting a strategic and operational review of Thorntons’ business and operations to identify opportunities arising, team alignment and other synergies,” it said, but it could not be certain what, if any, “repercussions there will be for the locations of Thorntons’ places of business, or the redeployment of Thorntons’ fixed assets or employees and currently has no firm intentions in relation to the foregoing”.