NOBLE FOODS co-owner Michael Kent has sold his stake in the business to the Dean family.

The company announced that Mr Kent had “decided to retire from the UK egg business” and focus on Happy Egg USA, which he now owns.

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Noble Foods said in a short statement that the leadership team at the firm would remain the same, although a spokesperson confirmed John Gildersleeve had stepped down as chairman.

A spokesperson said he would continue to “make his expertise available to the business”, and it is understood a replacement is not being sought.

Mr Kent said: “I would like to thank everyone at Noble Foods for all their hard work and endeavours over the last 12 years.

“I have in recent times been spending more time in the USA and the time now feels right for me to retire from the UK and focus on Happy Egg USA.”

Sarah Dean added: “My father, Peter, and I are very much looking forward to carrying on working with everyone at Noble Foods to further build on their success in meeting the needs of our employees, customers and suppliers, both now and in the future.

“We also wish Michael every success in the USA.”