Rank Hovis to slash 680 jobs

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Rank Hovis has announced it will cut 680 jobs over the next three
years in a bid to strengthen its position in the £1 billion UK cake

The cuts will come from Rank Hovis' (RHM) cake producing business, Manor Bakeries, which manufactures cake brands such as Mr Kipling and Cadbury's.

The Eastleigh factory near Southampton will bear the brunt, and will close by December 2005, with the loss of 423 jobs. The Moreton Bakery is next in line with its plant capacity reduced by half, with an expected 238 jobs set to go.

Manor's management is taking the action to reduce operating costs and eliminate under-utilised capacity. RHM claims to be investing £45 million in Manor, and Chief Executive of RHM, Ian McMahon, said the actions were "in line with our strategy of investing in keys brands, introducing exciting new products and driving operational efficiency."

The new initiatives will see 44 jobs lost at its transport and garage operation based in Stoke, while 50 jobs will be created at its Stoke bakery.

Additionally, it is anticipated that 300 new jobs will be created at Manor Bakeries, Barnsley, as production capacity is increased. This will bring the net total for job losses down to 330.

Chief Operating Officer of Manor, Patrick Irving, said the new investment and innovation, would "further enhance Manor as the clear market leader in the growing cakes category."

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