Bread rolls

Source: Getty Images

Scottish bakery Mortons Rolls has reopened this weekend, two weeks after the business shut down.

Around half the business’ 250 workers have been brought back in to restart production at the Glasgow factory that previously produced two million bread rolls a week.

A consortium of investors entered negotiations with HMRC, administrators and the Scottish government and have now taken ownership and control of the company’s assets. The consortium, called PVL, said they are confident they will be able to turn Mortons’ fortunes around.

John McIlvogue, who represents the consortium, said: “We want to be as honest and upfront with people as we possibly can be, and the truth is that we are going to need help moving forward.

“The business is undoubtedly viable – we have a world class product and an exceptionally experienced workforce – but the factory itself is antiquated and in need of a serious overhaul.”

McIlvogue added that the business was seeking help from the Scottish government and its agencies, and that he was confident the government would see the benefit of keeping the brand alive and workers in long term, stable employment.

“In an ideal world these things would have all been sorted out before we restarted production, but the reality is we couldn’t leave the workforce in limbo. We are absolutely committed to getting this right, to putting Morton’s on a sustainable footing and an upward trajectory.”

Established in 1965, Mortons started out supplying bread rolls and expanded over the years to produce confectionery, hot plate goods and meat products. The most recent company accounts, for the year to March 2021, showed Morton’s made a loss of £262,000 on £11.8m turnover.

The collapse of the business earlier this month brought an outpouring of dismay from fans of the bakery and its crispy morning rolls. News of its return has been warmly greeted on social media.

SNP Scottish parliament member Bill Kidd tweeted: “I’m delighted to announce that Mortons Rolls will be starting production again on Sunday night under the new angel group owners. Apart from saving the very high-quality produce, jobs will be saved through this buy out.”

And Labour MSP Paul Sweeney commented: “It’s a marvellous sight to see Mortons Rolls rolling off the production line again. But it’s just a start. We need a long-term plan for investment to modernise the factory. I’ll continue pressing the government for financial support.”

The Scottish government said it welcomed the re-employment of a proportion of Mortons’ staff, adding that business minister Ivan McKee and Scottish Enterprise have spoken with the investor and were waiting for information on proposals for the future of the Mortons Rolls site.

“Those employees who have not been re-employed remain our immediate priority,” said a government spokesperson. “The Scottish Government’s initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), will continue to offer support to affected employees.”