Bright Blue Foods (BBF), the UK own-label cake manufacturer, plans to close the Sargents Bakeries business it bought last year.
Based in Doncaster in the north of England, Sargents is also a private-label supplier serving UK retailers with jam tarts, fruit pies, mince pies, celebration cakes and sundaes.
BBF has been backed by private-equity firm Endless since 2015. Jonathan Lill was brought in by the UK-based investor to head up the Blackburn-based business as CEO.
Prior to BBF’s acquisition of Sargents in September last year, Lill said in a statement provided to Just Food today (13 October) the company was already struggling financially.
“Sargent’s was experiencing significant financial difficulties prior to us acquiring the business. Since the acquisition in 2021, there have been several external factors outside of our control which have further adversely affected the business,” Lill said.
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“As a result, it is with regret that we have announced the proposed closure of Sargents Bakeries. We appreciate that this is a very difficult situation for everyone and we will provide as much support as possible to everyone affected.” BBF has not disclosed the number of affected employees.
At the time of last year’s deal, Sargents was said to be a GBP24m (US$26.8m today) revenue company. Together, the two businesses would have a combined turnover of GBP200m, with more than 1,700 employees spread across a total of six manufacturing plants, including one in Poland owned by BBF, it was announced last September.
BBF supplies major retailers in the UK. The company was created in 2012 after Ireland’s McCambridge Group sold its own-label cake assets to private-equity firm NBGI, which led a management buy-out of the division.
In 2018, BBF acquired a cake and chilled desserts bakery in Hull on England’s north-east coast from Ireland-based convenience food group Greencore.