Bakery equipment supplier European Process Plant (EPP) has completed a management buyout led by managing director Steve Merritt.

The Epsom-based business, which has supplied equipment from specialist European manufacturers to British and Irish bakers for 45 years, employs 22 staff and has a £10m turnover.

Previous EPP owners Keith Stalker and Josie Mitchell are stepping back from the business, but will give ongoing support to the management team, which comprises Merritt, Stewart Morris, Melissa James and Roger Mott.

“We are enthusiastic and positive about the opportunities for EPP in the years ahead and committed to ensuring the continued success of the business,” Merritt told British Baker. “We will build on the reputation so successfully established by the business while also seeking out opportunities to grow in the years ahead.”

He added it was a “real honour” to lead a company with such a heritage and expertise in the bakery sector. 

“We know that the high level of innovation in the bakery sector will continue and are here to ensure our customers can find the means of efficiently producing both their current ranges and the exciting new products of tomorrow.

“We are extremely proud of the long-standing partnerships we have with our European equipment manufacturers and look forward to continuing to serve the UK and Ireland baking industry.”

Merritt and his team received financial backing in the vendor-initiated management buyout (Vimbo) from Allied Irish Bank (AIB).

Describing EPP as a well-respected local business, AIB South East region business centre leader Emma Lane said she was delighted to support its future plans and assist the completion of the management buyout.

“The new team are extremely experienced in this sector and Steve has been heavily involved in the running of the business in the previous year, so this Vimbo sees a very smooth transition,” she added.

Pictured above (l to r) are: Melissa James, EPP; Myles Carroll, relationship director, AIB; Steve Merritt, managing director, EPP; Emma Lane, area director, AIB; and John Craven, relationship manager, AIB