2016: No.6 - £850m
2015: No.5 - £800m
Things seem to be on the up at Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan Singh’s 2 Sisters Food Group, with a big reduction in losses and renewed investment in the company’s operations. The company is now the UK’s largest grocery supplier.
After a challenging time in the market place and some costly integration and restructuring, sales are holding up relatively well. For the year to August 2015 losses reduced from £143.36 million the previous year to just £4.6 million. For much of the year the company was making profits, but a dent was made in the balance sheet following write-offs from an outbreak of avian flu in the Netherlands.
But the company has announced significant new investment. £150 million is going into its poultry business to improve its production facilities, introduce new technology and drive efficiency. Some £55 million is to be spent on investment in its ready meals operation which will overhaul manufacturing facilities, including upgrades to the division’s four factories, securing jobs. The division produces a range of meals, soups and sauces, mainly for Marks & Spencer.
The acquisition of Dutch food group VION’s UK poultry and red meat business in 2013, with associated integration costs had an impact, but that purchase added £1 billion of annual sales to the group’s turnover. The 2 Sisters Group acquired VION UK’s 11 sites in Wales, Scotland and the south of England.
With the addition of the VION business, 2 Sisters operates from 47 sites in the UK and Ireland, six in Holland and one in Poland. Total workforce is around 23,000 employees.
The West Bromwich-based company – best known for its Buxted brand of whole chickens and chicken dishes – has achieved continued success despite a difficult market environment, with spiralling ingredient costs and tight margins which are putting pressure on food manufacturers.
Goodfella’s Pizzas are among the company’s popular brands supplied to most supermarkets in the UK. The company also owns fish and chip restaurant chain Harry Ramsden's and has signed a licensing agreement with Premier Foods to make and sell Hovis breakfast biscuits. The biscuits are made at the Boparan’s Fox’s Biscuits plant in Uttoxeter.
Ranjit Boparan’s career in food began behind the counter of a butcher’s shop in Bilston – the town where he was born. The 2 Sisters business was founded in 1993 and remains a private company, with husband and wife team Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan Singh the sole shareholders. Ranjit Singh, who lives in Little Aston, is chief executive.
The UK flagship of the group is its Scunthorpe processing plant which has been operating form more than 20 years. After a major investment programme it is now one of the most modern and best equipped food processing plants in Europe.
The Boparans – both 48 - are very keen on training and developing their workforce and are proud of their record of putting employees through NVQs on factory and farm production.
The firm’s investment in the fight against campylobacter in poultry has been praised by the Food Standards Agency.
Baljinder Boparan runs the Boparan Charitable Trust which supports disadvantaged children across the UK. In July Ranjit Boparan was awarded an honorary from Nottingham Trent University in recognition of his contribution to industry, commitment to training and philanthropic interests.
As well as their food businesses they also have property interests through Amber Real Estate Investments. The Midlands Asian Rich List put the Boparan fortune at £1.35 billion, but we take a more conservative view.