'Chicken king' Ranji Boparan may cut thousands of UK jobs after Reliance Retail deal falls through

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The firm is the third largest food company in the UK by turnover and one of the fastest growing private companies. Reuters The firm is the third largest food company in the UK by turnover and one of the fastest growing private companies. Reuters
Summary47-year-old Boparan's empire now includes ready meals, pizzas, frozen vegetables and biscuits, and he has 24,000 employees at 50 factories.

British Indian businessman Ranji Boparan, known as the "chicken king", is set to axe around 1,800 jobs in the UK as part of a major restructuring of his food business empire.

The Birmingham-based tycoon, known as the "chicken king" for his mega poultry-focused business '2 Sisters', is planning to shut two sites and cut jobs to rein in costs.

The company is one of the largest suppliers of poultry and meat to supermarkets and fast-food chains in the UK.

In October last year, there were reports that Reliance Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail was planning to launch a fast food chain through its joint venture with Ranjit Singh Boparan's 2 Sisters Food Group. But the plan fell through after protest from Reliance shareholders.

The 47-year-old Boparan's empire now includes ready meals, pizzas, frozen vegetables and biscuits, and he has 24,000 employees at 50 factories.

However, according to the Sunday Times, there are concerns that the rapid growth, achieved through a string of takeovers, has come at a big price.

In October, the company announced it had swung from a full-year pre-tax profit of 42.5 million pounds to a 33.5-million-pound loss, despite a 23 per cent jump in sales to 2.9 billion pounds.

It is looking at the closure of a site in Corby, Northamptonshire, and a cake factory in Newport, South Wales.

A further 230 posts are expected to go in Coupar Angus, near Dundee, the newspaper said. But jobs are likely to be created in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire at plants that have been earmarked for expansion.

The firm is the third largest food company in the UK by turnover and one of the fastest growing private companies.

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