Staff at the CSM Bakery Solutions-owned Kate’s Cakes sites in West Sussex and Surrey were given a letter on Wednesday (27 April) informing them that the outlets are to close “by the end of 2017”.

John Lindsay, vice president of modern trade Europe for CSM, told British Baker: “We are now entering a period of consultation with the workforce about a proposal to close down the Ashington and Esher sites.”

Both the Sussex and Surrey sites are set to close by the end of 2017, according to the company. CSM, a bakery ingredients firm, employs around 425 people at Ashington and 170 at Esher.

Lindsay added that it had been prompted by a global €150m (£117m) investment, and that “the UK part of that is quite significant.”

As well as closing the two sites in the south-east of England, CSM is to develop a new site next to its existing Daventry operation in Northamptonshire, and extend the Bradford premises in West Yorkshire.

Lindsay said that the company “needed to be prepared for future growth.”

Of the 600-strong workforce that will be affected, Lindsay said: “At the moment we are offering one-to-one consultations, out-placements and training. There will be the offer of employment at alternative sites if appropriate.”

CSM employs 1,800 people across the UK. Last year, the company relocated its global headquarters to the US from Amsterdam.