Canada Bread broadens its UK bakery portfolio

By Peter Stiff

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United kingdom Bread Chief executive officer Canada bread Uk

Canada Bread has swept up the remaining assets and business of
troubled British baker Harvestime in a move that broadens the
firm's operations in the UK.

The company's acquisition, for an unspecified amount, will transform the firm into a major supplier of in-store bakery products to some of Britain's largest retailers.

Until now Maple Leaf Bakery UK, which owns Canada Bread, predominately dealt only in bagel production, but the firm sees potential in the wider UK and European bakery market.

"The UK and European specialty bakery market is a high growth opportunity for Canada Bread,"​ said Richard Lan, president and chief executive officer. "The acquisition immediately provides us with a stronger presence in the retail bakery market and broadens our base in bagel manufacturing to other specialty par-baked products."

Harvestime is a producer of breads, rolls and specialty products, with sales of around £19m.

The company had a disastrous 2005 changing ownership twice, falling into administration and subsequently closing two facilities at the expense of 400 jobs.

Harvestime was previously rumoured to be losing £250,000 a week and currently employs 200 workers at its remaining Walsall plant.

Management believes developing both branded and private label products will achieve growth in the UK and European markets.

The company is currently the UK's leading bagel producer operating in both private label and branded products under the New York Bagel Co. brand.

Maple Leaf Bakery claims the bagel category has been growing at approximately 20 per cent a year since the firm entered the market.

The baker has three manufacturing facilities in the UK and has recently expanded its focus to include value-added specialty bakery products.

Canada bread had 2005 sales of $1.3bn and employs 7000 people at sites in Canada, the US and the UK.

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