Paul Allen, Tayto Group chief executive has purchased McErlain’s Bakery in Magherafelt, which produces the Genesis Crafty range as well as private label cakes and breads for several high-street stores.
In a shake up to the bakery industry throughout NI McErlain’s Bakery, who experienced trading difficulties in the past year, called in Andrew Dolliver and Luke Charleton of EY as administrators to the company.
This may seem like a detrimental time for the Genesis Craft Bakery, but all parties involved are optimistic for the future of the brand under new leadership, and thankful for minimal damage to the occupation and economic factors.
M&S, Tesco, Waitrose and Brake confirmed that their contracts will continue as normal and Genesis Crafty will continue trading from the plant for the meantime.
However, the news may come as a shock to many throughout the industry, due to Genesis Crafty creating 47 new jobs last September, investing £6m on new equipment and having further investment from Invest NI of £485,000.
Ernst and Young LLP explained that these issues came from a period of trading difficulties, but are yet to comment on what sent the bakery into liquidation. They approached Paul Allen to invest in the company and save both the brand and jobs.
We are still awaiting comment on EY about the overall affect this will have on current creditors involved with McErlain’s Bakery and the Genesis Crafty range.
Andrew Dolliver of Ernst and Young LLP, also explained that their priority lay with McErlain’s and they aimed to “achieve a better result for the company’s creditors as a whole and to identify a buyer who would bring the business back to a position of stability where it could continue to trade, and importantly, where its employees were protected.”
He also expressed great hope for the future due to the success and experiences that Paul Allen has accumulated throughout his career in the retail sector.
Paul spoke about the matter with confidence for substantial, managed, successful growth: “I’m hoping that in my non-executive role with the company, I will be able to use my experience in the industry to help guide the growth of both the Genesis Crafty brand and the overall business.”
Paul went on to speak about the fact that this deal was also sentimental, due to it being “a private investment by me and my family.” He praised the McErlain family, stating they “have built a great business, with excellent products.”
Not only was the chief executive happy to save a family business, he was delighted to be saving the jobs of somewhat 260 employees: “I’m delighted that the jobs at the factory have been secured and that Brian McErlain will be staying on as managing director.”
The move will see five of the six McErlain brothers, who have been running the bakery for the family, leaving following Mr Allen’s purchase.
Hopeful to turn the business around, Paul alluded to what their business model will look like going forwarding, it would appear the Tayto boss is set to implement a model that brings the success of his crisp and snack brand.
Brian McErlain, commented: “This is obviously a time of mixed emotions; sadness that it is now a different family who own the business but hope for the future and the growth of the Genesis Crafty brand.
Paul Allen’s ability is very well respected in the business community, not just in Northern Ireland but further afield and I believe that his involvement will be a real benefit to the company. I’d like to pay tribute to all our staff, customers and suppliers, who have been through some difficult times with us and whose support we have really appreciated.”
This move had many within the industry commenting, including Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, who has a special connection to the bakery: “This is very welcome news. Genesis Crafty is a long standing member of Retail NI and enjoys an excellent relationship with the independent retail sector in Northern Ireland. I have no doubt that the business will have a very secure future with its new owner.”
Whilst it is uncertain how this will play out and who will be affected overall, Paul Allen, and others, would appear to be confident in his abilities in being able to turn the company around.