Jones Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones (left) and his brother, projects director Christien Jones, stand outside the 'super bakery' site in Wrexham

Source: Jones Village Bakery

Jones Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones (left) and his brother, projects director Christien Jones, outside the ‘super bakery’ site in Wrexham

Jones Village Bakery has been acquired by Menissez Bakery Group with “significant investment” secured for expansion plans including a new bread roll line.

The Wrexham-based manufacturer confirmed that the French bakery giant had purchased the majority stake from Limerston Capital, with the London-based private equity firm exiting its investment after three years. Financial details were not disclosed.

Limerston Capital acquired the controlling share of the business from the Jones family in 2021 after its investment supported the construction of a 140,000 sq ft ‘super bakery’ following a devastating fire in 2019. The business is said to have trebled in size since the backing.

The latest acquisition will see Jones Village Bakery continue to be run by the existing senior management team headed by MD Robin Jones and his brother Christien, the projects director, along with operations director Simon Thorpe and commercial director Lesley Arnot.

In addition, the company unveiled a multi-million pound expansion plan that will create at least 65 new jobs, with a first phase featuring installation of a highly automated, state-of the-art line making a range of morning goods at its main bakery. Expected to be up and running by next year, the new bread rolls line adds to a £16m artisan bread line installed in 2022 and a £2m pancake line opened last year. The site also includes headquarters, a baking academy and an innovation centre.

Jones Village Bakery staff pose at its £16m artisan bread production line upon opening in 2022

Source: Jones Village Bakery

Jones Village Bakery staff pose at the £16m artisan bread production line during its opening in 2022

Jones Village Bakery, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, currently employs around 900 people and operates two other production sites across a 35-acre campus in Wrexham Industrial Estate – a 70,000 sq ft dedicated gluten-free unit and a 50,000 sq ft facility for bagels, sesame buns, scones, dough balls and pancakes – as well as a 45,000 sq ft site in nearby Minera, where it makes its Village Bakery branded range.

M&S is its biggest customer – it makes the M&S Collection Sourdough range for the retailer – and also supplies bakery products to Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Ocado and Co-op, as well as foodservice wholesalers.

270122-Robin Jones-4

Source: Jones Village Bakery

Managing director Robin Jones says significant investment will enable Jones Village Bakery to fulfil its huge potential

According to Robin Jones, there had been a great number of potential suitors keen to buy into its success story but family-run Menissez was the “perfect fit” as it had the same values with a focus on people, quality, customer service and innovation.

“They are a brilliant company and the family, headed by Laurent and Isabelle Menissez, are true global pioneers of the bakery industry,” he commented, adding “significant investment will enable us to fulfil our huge potential in terms of growth and reach a whole new level”.

Jones noted that the long-term partnership would benefit from the clear synergies between the two companies and the two families, with the cutting-edge operation and the scope for future expansion in Wrexham providing Menissez with a UK production platform.

Founded in 1965, Menissez specialises in frozen bread, either raw or part-baked, and supplies a range of sourdough baguettes to UK retailers including Sainsbury’s and Costco. The group has continued to expand internationally with several acquisitions.   

“Being part of Menissez, which has a number of companies, including Van Rooy and Le Marie Patisserie in Europe, and Boulart in Canada, will bring a host of benefits, not least helping us tap into their enormous distribution network, enabling us to reach new markets – both in the UK and all over the world,” said Jones. “We’re already doing incredibly well in Australia and New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East but this tie-up is an absolute gamechanger in terms of export potential.”

Laurent Menissez, CEO of the Menissez Bakery Group, echoed the sentiments. “Jones Village Bakery has been a shining light in the bakery industry for many years and we have watched their growth with great admiration,” he said.

“As well as producing the highest quality baked goods, they have a clear vision to expand capacity and reach new customers. By combining our resources and our expertise, we can become even more successful together,” Menissez added.

Sales soar

Accounts recently filed by Jones Village Bakery’s holding company VB Topco for the year ended 24 September 2023 showed a 42% increase in revenues, leaping from £69.1m the previous term to £98m. While this was mainly down to price hikes, the company said it had benefitted from a full year’s operation of its sourdough line as well as NPD driving innovation for new and existing customers.

However, it noted margins had been squeezed due to the delay in implementing price rises while costs of ingredients, packaging and energy rose rapidly. EBITDA had been impacted accordingly, it claimed, although it was still able to post £13.1m, more than double the £5.6m in EBITDA from FY22.

The bakery supplier turned around a £4m operating loss to post an operating profit of £1.4m, but a £23.2m interest on debt caused pre-tax losses to grow from £16.5m to £21.8m.