McErlain’s Bakery in Northern Ireland has been sold to local businessman Paul Allen, the CEO of local crisps company Tayto Group, in a deal which will save around 260 jobs.

The Magherafelt bakery is best known for its Genesis Crafty range of bread, pancakes, cakes and scones but it also makes cakes and bread on a private label basis and supplies major retailers including Tesco, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.

But it has experienced trading difficulties in the past year, which resulted in Andrew Dolliver and Luke Charleton of accountancy and advisory firm EY being appointed as administrators to the company today (21 August).

The administrators worked with the business to identify a buyer in advance of this process, with the sale – for an undisclosed sum – concluding shortly after their appointment. The business continued to trade as normal throughout the process.

Allen, who will continue tin the role as CEO at Tayto, said: “This is a private investment by me and my family. The McErlain family have built a great business, with excellent products which have national markets. 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.

“I’m delighted that the jobs at the factory have been secured and that Brian McErlain will be staying on as MD. I see this as a very sound business with great potential. 

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“I’m now looking forward to seeing the company return to substantial, managed, successful growth and further investment in the future.”

Brian McErlain, said: “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.”

The business was originally founded by Joe and Roberta McErlain in 1968 and run by six of their children, five of whom are leaving following Allen’s purchase.

In June, County Armagh-based Tayto, which owns brands including Golden Wonder and Real Crisps, continued its acquisition spree by buying The Real Pork Crackling Company.