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Greencore Group plc
Traded asLSEGNC
FoundedDublin, Ireland (1991)
HeadquartersDublin, Ireland
Key people
Gary Kennedy, Chairman
Patrick Coveney, CEO
ProductsConvenience Foods
Revenue£1,498.5 million (2018)[1]
£102.0 million (2018)[1]
£12.6 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
15,800 (2018)[2]

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[3] 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.[4]

The Sugar Act, 1991[5] 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]

Knapton Maltings in North Yorkshire

In 2005 the company announced that it would close its factory in Carlow, ceasing production on 11 March. In March 2006 it was announced that the last remaining factory would close in Mallow, and this closure occurred on 12 May. 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] The deal, however, fell through after businessman Ranjit Singh Boparan outbid Greencore to win the approval of Northern Foods shareholders, on 21 January 2011.[10] 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.[11] On 25 July 2016, the company acquired The Sandwich Factory Holdings Ltd for £15m from Cranswick plc.[12][13] On 14 November 2016, Greencore announced it would acquire US-based Peacock Foods for $747.5m, significantly expanding its presence in the country.[14]

The health of Greencore's US business was questioned by investors as a result of a late August 2017 fear that Starbucks had backtracked on a contract at the coffee giant's Jacksonville facility in Florida. Brokerage house Cantor Fitzgerald became the first firm to lower its investment rating of Greencore, stating that the stock's fall was caused by "some underlying event in the US."[15]

In October 2018, Greencore announced it would end US expansion and sell its US business to Hearthside Food Solutions for £817 million.[16]


Greencore is the world’s largest maker of sandwiches - 350 million a year – with a 36% share of the UK market.[17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Results 2018" (PDF). Greencore. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Greencore". FT. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  3. ^ Sugar Manufacture Act, 1933 Archived 2 May 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Carlow sugar factory to close today". RTE. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  5. ^ Sugar Act, 1991 Archived 4 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Ex-Greencore workers protest outside Mallow factory over redundancy". Breaking News. 23 September 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  7. ^ "German firm takes full sugar control". RTÉ News. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Greencore sugar plant closure unnecessary? - RTÉ News". 10 November 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Greencore and Northern Foods to merge - RTÉ News". Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Greencore still wants Northern Foods merger - RTÉ News". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  11. ^ Kavanagh, Michael (12 July 2011). "Greencore agrees £113m Uniq takeover". Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Announces £15m Bolt-On Acquisition In UK Food To Go". Greencore. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  13. ^ Michelle PerrettMichelle Perrett, 25 July 2016 (25 July 2016). "Food manufacturer acquires sandwich business for £15M". Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Greencore to acquire US group Peacock Foods for $748m". FT. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Broker downgrades Greencore on concern over US business -". Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  16. ^ Abboud, Leila (15 October 2018). "Greencore quits US two years after expansion push". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Interview: Greencore FD Alan Williams". Financial Director. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  18. ^ Hosie, Rachel (21 December 2017). "Chicken wraps recalled from Co-op, Aldi and Morrisons over concerns they contain metal". The Independent. Retrieved 22 December 2017.

External links[edit]