March 1, 2017 / 2:09 PM / 5 months ago

PepsiCo to close British plant, threatening nearly 400 jobs

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A Pepsi truck is shown in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September 26, 2016.Mike Blake/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Food and drink firm PepsiCo plans to shut a Walkers crisp factory in northern England, the company said on Wednesday, putting almost 400 jobs at risk.

PepsiCo, whose UK products include Walkers crisps, Pepsi Max soft drinks and Quaker porridge, said the plant closure at Peterlee, in County Durham in northern England, would affect 380 jobs.

The company said the decision was nothing to do with Britain's vote to leave the European Union last year, and that crisps currently produced at the site would be manufactured at other sites in Britain.

"The changes we are proposing present significant productivity and efficiency savings crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of our business in the UK," Tracey Foster, Peterlee Manufacturing Director at PepsiCo UK said in a statement.

She added that "no decisions will be made without first consulting employees and their representatives."

The company employs almost 5,000 workers across 11 sites in Britain, including a factory in Leicester that producers Walkers crisps -- known in the United States as potato chips -- which is the largest crisp factory in the world.

Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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