UK: ABF's Allied Bakeries to close UK bakery
Allied Bakeries plans to close Orpington bakery
Allied Bakeries, the UK bread arm of Associated British Foods, has confirmed plans to close a bakery in south-east London as it nears the end of a programme of investment in is baking facilities.
The company is looking to close the manufacturing plant in Orpington, although it said its plans do not include the depot at the site.
Citing the "long-term decline of the bread market", Allied Bakeries said the worker consultation process would begin "immediately".
Nick Law, operations director for Allied Bakeries, said: "The potential closure of manufacturing at Orpington has been an extremely tough decision and in no way reflects the commitment and efforts of all those who are currently working there. Our announcement today is a response to the highly competitive nature of the market we operate in."
The company stressed "every effort" would be made to assist employees at the facility find alternative work, either within ABF or at local employers.
Officials at ABF met with Orpington MP Jo Johnson yesterday (4 August). Johnson said he sought the "most robust assurances" that "all people affected be given appropriate opportunities elsewhere in the company".
Johnson continued: "We also need a proper explanation of why Allied, which has been baking here since 1938, cannot meet its corporate objectives through restructuring elsewhere in the company. The consultation must be a proper one that gives real answers to these questions."
In its most recent financial update, ABF, which manufactures the Kingsmill brand, said it "made progress" in the competitive UK bread sector.
The group said bread volumes and margins will come in ahead of last year. Profitability has been improved through restructuring initiatives andthe company is coming to the end of an investment programme to upgrate its bakeries.
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