It is the company behind some of the nation’s most popular biscuit brands, including McVitie’s Hobnobs, Jaffa Cakes and Penguin. But United Biscuits also produces snacks such as Hula Hoops, KP salted peanuts and McCoy’s crisps. After underperforming on the stock market throughout the 1990s, the company was taken private in 2000 in a £1.3 billion deal backed by a consortium of private-equity investors led by Cinven. It reported sales of £1,308m in 2002, when it had 11,500 employees. The company, now led by Malcolm Ritchie, a former president of Heinz Europe, sold its Chinese arm and subsidiaries to Nabisco that year.
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