A major fire rips through the David Wood Foods bakery site in Dudley on Friday 15 September.  West Midlands Fire Service

Source: West Midlands Fire Service

The fire was ruled accidental by the West Midlands Fire Service

Own-label bakery manufacturer David Wood Baking has secured a substantial credit facility to help it bounce back after a fire ripped through one of its production sites last year.

The new financing (the value of which has not been revealed) will support the Leeds-based business with ‘stabilisation’ and the rescaling of production following the total loss of its bakery facility in Netherton, Dudley from a fire in September 2023.

The firm, which was founded in 2008 by David and Karen Wood, supplies a range of breads, ready meals, and sweet and savoury products to UK supermarkets and high street food retailers from its remaining seven sites which include Newport, Bolton, Spalding, and Scarborough.

Following the fire, David Wood Baking transferred production to its other sites in a move which ‘protected and gave certainty to its employees, customers, and suppliers’.

“Since the catastrophic fire at Dudley, we have been working tirelessly to preserve and recover our business,” said David Wood, chairman and chief executive at David Wood Baking, adding that he was “genuinely humbled” by the help and support from employees and customers following the incident.

“The fantastic teamwork we have experienced from everyone involved has enabled us to make amazing progress in returning the business back to normality quickly. Our advisers at Interpath have guided us through this process as we sought solutions that would support us in our recovery, and also enable us to look forward with confidence to continue with our growth ambitions,” he said.

The business bounced back to profitability in the six months to 31 May 2023 (the latest accounting period available) with profits amounting to £3.7m compared to the previous £3.8m loss.

Interpath Advisory advised David Wood Baking on raising bespoke term debt and revolving asset finance facilities from Barings and Leumi ABL. The team was led by Interpath MD Chris Hall alongside Tom Swiers, the firm’s head of food and drink in the UK.

“UK food and drink producers have faced significant volatility in recent years, but their resilience is testament to the incredible people behind them in the board room, in the back office and on the factory floor,” Swiers noted. “There is no greater destabilising event than a factory fire, and the team at David Wood Baking’s ability to stabilise production with customer needs protected alongside achieving this refinance is testament to a quality team and business.”

David Wood Baking isn’t the only bakery firm to be rebuilding following a fire in 2023. Roberts Bakery is undertaking ‘the most important operational overhaul in decades’ after a fire ripped through its Northwich site in June 2023. The plan included moving the Little Treats biscuit production to Winsford (four miles from Northwich) allowing it to improve the operational layout of its other sites in Rudheath and Ilkeston, in Derbyshire.