Heinz Aunt Bessie's site in Norfolk 'could not be saved'

Aunt Bessie's frozen chip
Image caption Heinz said it had not found a buyer or any other viable alternative to keep the Westwick site open

Heinz has been left "deeply disappointed" by being unable to save its factory in Norfolk, which employs 200 people.

A proposal to shut the Westwick site in North Walsham, which makes frozen potato products for Aunt Bessie's, was first made in October and was subject to consultation.

Since then, the company has not been able to find a buyer for the factory.

The site will permanently close in April 2015.

In a statement, Heinz said the owner of the Aunt Bessie's brand, William Jackson Food Group, had decided not to renew Heinz's licence to make its frozen potato products.

"Heinz is deeply disappointed to have to make this announcement," a spokesman for the company said.

Image caption The Westwick factory in North Walsham will cease production at the end of April 2015

"However, given the decision by the William Jackson Food Group to move to an alternative supplier there is not sufficient manufacturing volume to keep the factory operational.

"After exploring all alternatives to avoid or limit the impact of a potential closure, and all opportunities to find a buyer for the factory, unfortunately none of these options have proved viable."

The company has secured customers to allow the site to continue running until the end of the Aunt Bessie's licence in late April.

"Heinz's attentions will now focus on providing job search help for affected employees," the spokesman said.

Consultation with employee representatives would continue until the middle of next month, in order to agree final closure plans.

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