125-year-old UK icing and marzipan producer saved from administration

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

It's going to be a happy Christmas for JF Renshaw's 200-strong workforce, whose jobs have been saved after the company was acquired by British Bakels. Pic: GettyImages
It's going to be a happy Christmas for JF Renshaw's 200-strong workforce, whose jobs have been saved after the company was acquired by British Bakels. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags JF Renshaw British Bakels Real good food icing Marzipan administration Bakels

The future of JF Renshaw – which has been supplying the UK and international bakery sector with ready to roll icing, marzipan, frostings, caramel and mallows since 1898 – has been secured following a sale of the business and its assets to British Bakels Ltd.

The Liverpool-based food manufacturer – which holds a Royal Warrant, the first one granted by George VI in 1950 for almond products – was on the brink of administration before it was snapped up by the UK arm of the Bakels Group, a privately-owned bakery ingredients manufacturer headquartered in Switzerland.

The sale – of which terms were undisclosed – includes the business and assets of Real Good Food (RGF) plc and its bakery ingredients unit JF Renshaw. As part of the sale, all employees will transfer to British Bakels.

For the past 12 months or so, RGF has been adversely affected by challenging trading conditions, including supply chain disruptions and macroeconomic headwinds that saw it slash its workforce by more than 100 staff in September.

Two months later, RGF announced it was selling its Rainbow Dust Colours business for £800,000 to UK-based European Fermentation Products, a subsidiary of the Albex Group. It said it would also conduct a review of its remaining operation, JF Renshaw, which would effectively see the demise of the London-listed group as a trading entity.

“Given the impact of the current operating environment on the group, the group’s limited working capital position and the consequential uncertainty regarding the group’s financial position, the board and the JF Renshaw board have each concluded that it is required to take the necessary steps to preserve value for creditors,” ​the company said at the time.

“Given the limited timeframe available, it became clear that it would not be possible to conclude a transaction on a solvent basis and as such, the directors took steps to seek the appointment of administrators.”

Interpath Advisory was appointed as adviser to explore ‘strategic options’ and immediately concluded the sale to British Bakels.

“With a heritage dating back 125 years, JF Renshaw is well known for its range of baking ingredients and cake decorations. We’re pleased to have been able to conclude this transaction, which will enable trade to continue and which safeguards employment for its workforce in Liverpool,”​ said Rick Harrison, MD of Interpath Advisory.

Birth of Renshaw by Bakels

Renshaw at one point made 90% of the marzipan sold in UK retail. It was also the UK's largest producer of colourful sugar paste used by cake decorators. It's Liverpool factory produces around 20,000 tonnes (or 20,000,000 kilos) of finished product in an average year. All of the sugar used in Renshaw products is milled onsite to ensure it meets the company's exacting standards. The almonds used for marzipan are also blanched and processed onsite prior to production.

“We are delighted that JF Renshaw – internationally known as a top quality producer of icings and marzipan – has joined the Bakels Group, bringing together two well-known brands with a combined history of close to 250 years,” ​said James Cawthorne, MD of British Bakels.

“We look forward to working with our new colleagues to develop the concept of ‘Renshaw by Bakels’.”

As part of the sale, all employees will transfer over to Oxfordshire-based British Bakels.

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