The acquisition of British food manufacturer RHM by Premier Foods Ireland has been given the green light by the Competition Authority.

In December, Premier Foods made a recommended offer for rival RHM in the form of a scheme of arrangement valuing the whole of RHM at £1.227 billion.

As a result, Premier Foods Ireland said that it would dispose of the Erin brand to address the Irish Competition Authority's concern that the acquisition may lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the gravy makers market.

The Erin brand was acquired by Premier Foods Ireland in August 2006 as part of the acquisition of Campbell's UK and Ireland business by Premier Foods. The Erin business itself had been acquired by Campbells in 2002. The recently announced review of Premier's operations in Ireland will now take the impact of this development into consideration and all employees will be kept fully informed. The acquisition of RHM had earlier this week received unconditional clearance by the Office of Fair Trading in the UK. No other regulatory reviews are pending and the measures agreed with the ICA are not expected to have any effect upon the timetable for the acquisition.

February 9, 2007