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Greencore Group plc
Traded as LSEGNC
Founded Dublin, Ireland (1991)
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
Key people
Gary Kennedy Chairman
Patrick Coveney, CEO
Products Convenience Foods
Revenue £1,340.3 million (2015)[1]
£83.0 million (2015)[1]
£59.0 million (2015)[1]

Greencore Group plc is a food company in Ireland. Established by the Irish government in 1991 when they privatised Irish Sugar, today its lines span mainly convenience food related interests in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Greencore is today the world's largest sandwich manufacturer. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The company was established in 1926 in Carlow as a private enterprise known as the Irish Sugar Manufacturing Company, Limited. The Sugar Manufacture Act, 1933[2] was passed to promote self-sufficiency in sugar manufacture; this act was brought on by a crisis in the industry and resulted in the nationalisation of sugar manufacture. After the passing of this act factories were built in Mallow, Thurles and Tuam and the company became Cómhlucht Siúicre Éireann, Teoranta, the Irish for Irish Sugar Company, Limited. The Thurles and Tuam factories were closed in the early 1980s after a rationalisation became necessary and the company decided to concentrate manufacture at its Carlow and Mallow factories.

The Sugar Act, 1991[3] privatised the entity and it became Greencore at that time. The act was passed as the company had diversified beyond being a sugar manufacturing company into other food products. 55% of the group was listed on the Irish Stock Exchange that year, over the years additional placements have led to almost 100% of the shares now being in private hands. The exception is that the Irish Government holds a special share certificate (value EUR 1.26) in Irish Sugar Limited in order to prevent the Irish sugar quota being sold without its consent.[1]

In 2005 the company announced that it would close its factory in Carlow, ceasing production on March 11. In March 2006 it was announced that the last remaining factory would close in Mallow, and this closure occurred on May 12. The reason indicated for these closures has been the reform of European Union policies on sugar which reduced the quotas and subsidies available and therefore making its manufacture unprofitable in Ireland.[4]

In October 2009 Nordzucker announced that it had bought Greencore's 50% stake in its joint venture SugarPartners. As part of the deal, Nordzucker acquired the Siucra, McKinney and Castle brands from the company.[5]

On 10 November 2010, the European Court of Auditors found that the closure of the last Greencore sugar plant in Mallow in 2006 may not have been necessary.[6]

The company was due to merge with Northern Foods in 2011 to form Essenta Foods, to be headquartered in Dublin but listed on the London Stock Exchange.[7] The deal, however, fell through after businessman Ranjit Singh Boparan outbid Greencore to win the approval of Northern Foods shareholders, on 21 January 2011.[8]

On 12 July 2011, Greencore announced it intended to buy Uniq plc. The deal closed in November 2011, with Uniq resultantly delisting from the London Stock Exchange.[9]

On 25 July, 2016, the company acquired The Sandwich Factory Holdings Ltd for £15m from Cranswick plc.[10][11] On 14 November 2016, Greencore announced it would acquire US Based Peacock Foods for $747.5m, significantly expanding its presence in the country.[12]

1989 investigation[edit]

In January 1989 it emerged that Larry Goodman, through his company Food Industries, was interested in making a "significant investment" in the Irish Sugar Company and confirmed that it had approached the company and the Government about its plans. The chief executive of Food Industries, David Dilger, said the company had not received "a negative or positive" response from the Government – which then commissioned a study on the future development of Irish Sugar. Dilger said on radio in February 1989 that he had been in touch Irish Sugar two months earlier. Following this Dilger and Goodman made a presentation to senior officials from ICTU on their plans for Irish Sugar.[citation needed]

On 14 February 1989 the chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on commercial State-Sponsored bodies, Liam Lawlor, failed to attend a private meeting of the committee at which Opposition members planned to question him about a report on the Irish Sugar Company's affairs, submitted by the company to the committee.[13]

It emerged that as Chairman of the committee Lawlor had received a report written by Irish Sugar for the committee in November 1988, but had not shared it with other members of the committee. Although at first he denied he knew of the existence of the document, he later admitted he had, though he reportedly "had not read its contents".[14][15]

The report "spelled out in greater detail than ever before the structures, financial condition and prospects" of Irish Sugar.[16] At the time Lawlor was a non-executive director of Food Industries, in which Goodman had a majority stake. Lawlor owned 11,000 shares in the company at the time valued at £31,000. He was appointed non-executive director in 1987, given his "expertise in the refrigeration/cold storage business".[17]

Lawlor's involvement with Food Industries led to allegations of a conflict of interest, and proposals from the Labour and Workers parties for the drawing up of a code of conduct and declaration of interests via amendment to standing orders of the Dáil.[18] Labour Party leader Dick Spring was ordered to leave the Dáil after persistent questioning about Lawlor's behaviour.[19]

Lawlor resigned as chairman of the committee on 16 February 1989.[20] Des O'Malley welcomed the resignation, stating that "it was the only honourable course open to him to protect and preserve the independence and the integrity of the committee".[21]


Knapton Maltings in North Yorkshire

Greencore is the world’s largest maker of sandwiches - 350 million a year - with a 36% share of the UK market, supplying to Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Waitrose.[22] As well as sandwiches, Greencore also manufacture a range of supermarket own brand ready meals, sauces, cakes and puddings at several sites across the UK and US, a selection of these sites are listed below:

  • Wales (site referred to as Kiveton) near Sheffield - Supermarket own brand ready meals, Weight Watchers brand ready meals and Sutherland brand potted meat spreads.
  • Hull - Cakes and desserts.
  • Park Royal London - Sandwiches and southern region distribution centre.
  • Warrington - Pasta based ready meals.
  • Evercreech - Chilled deserts.
  • Selby - Cooking sauces, Pastes, Stir-in sauces, Marinades, Table sauces, Salsa & dips, Sweet & sour pickles and Premium soft drinks.
  • Crosby, Liverpool - Sushi products
  • Manton Wood, Worksop - Main UK sandwich production site and the world's largest sandwich manufacturing facility.
  • Spalding - Prepared salads.
  • Northampton - Dedicated M&S sandwich factory.
  • Bow - Small production site, specialising in premium quality sandwiches, baguettes and prepared salads.
  • Leeds - Frozen Yorkshire Puddings and toad in the holes.
  • Rhode Island

Kiveton Production and Distribution Sites[edit]

The main Kiveton site in located on the west of Mansfield Road, Wales was originally the Sutherland potted meat factory, which was acquired by Greencore in 2001 when it bought Hazelwood Foods PLC, by this time Kiveton had also developed into a ready meal production site, as well as continued production of Sutherland potted meats. This site is also the main UK distribution hub for the ready meal sector and also houses a research and development kitchen for the ready meal sector. On the opposite (east) side of Mansfield Road from the main Kiveton site is a smaller regional sandwich distribution centre, this RDC as well as operating its own fleet of distribution vans also operates a fleet of larger distribution vehicles ranging from 7.5 tonne to 44 tonne articulated lorries for distribution of sandwiches and wraps from the nearby Manton Wood sandwich factory along with sushi from the Crosby site, to other regional distribution centres throughout the UK.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Greencore. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Sugar Manufacture Act, 1933
  3. ^ Sugar Act, 1991
  4. ^ "Ex-Greencore workers protest outside Mallow factory over redundancy". Breaking News. 23 September 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "German firm takes full sugar control". RTÉ News. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Greencore sugar plant closure unnecessary? - RTÉ News". 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  7. ^ "Greencore and Northern Foods to merge - RTÉ News". Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  8. ^ "Greencore still wants Northern Foods merger - RTÉ News". 2011-01-24. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  9. ^ Kavanagh, Michael (2011-07-12). "Greencore agrees £113m Uniq takeover". Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "FF TD fails to attend meeting on Irish Sugar", Dick Walsh, Irish Times, 15 February 1989.
  14. ^ 1989 Profile,; accessed 22 March 2014.
  15. ^ 1989 Profile,; accessed 22 March 2014.
  16. ^
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ [3]
  20. ^ [4]
  21. ^ 1989 Profile,; accessed 22 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Interview: Greencore FD Alan Williams". Financial Director. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 

External links[edit]