United Kingdom competition authorities have cleared the takeover of Manton's egg processing plants by Noble Foods.
The deal was called in by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in May, when a spokeswoman for the authority told FarmingUK that the takeover would be subject to a 40-day review period, after which the authority would either rule that there was no cause for concern or it would decide to investigate further. The CMA has now announced that it has cleared the deal. Full details of its decision will be released at a later date.
News of a potential takeover of first emerged when the local press in Nottinghamshire reported that Noble intended to close its existing Bilsthorpe plant and transfer production to the Manton factories. Noble was quoted at the time as saying that the acquisitions had been agreed in principle. We subsequently reported that Noble had written to interested parties to confirm that the deal had since been completed. The company said in the letter that the purchase of the two plants became effective on March 14. It said production would be moved from Bilsthorpe gradually and that the new business would operate under the name Noble Egg Innovations.
The letter, which was signed by the business's managing director David Pearson and chairman Michael Looney, said, "Noble has been reviewing investment options for its egg products business for some time and the acquisition of the Manton facilities is the best solution to its future manufacturing requirements. It is envisaged that Noble's current liquid egg production at Bilsthorpe will be transferred to the acquired factories over time. These changes will provide a long-term, competitive and sustainable route to market for Manton and Noble's liquid egg products, benefiting customers and suppliers alike. The new business will trade as Noble Egg lnnovations."
At the time that the deal was called in, a spokeswoman for the CMA told the FarmingUK that Noble had been told not to continue with the further integration of the Manton's factories whilst the case was being considered. "The case has been called in and we have issued an interim order. The acquisition has already been completed but the interim order prevents further integration of the businesses.” She said that this was standard procedure because the more integration that took place, the more difficult it could be to identify the two separate businesses later.