Welsh independent bakery Brace’s has announced it is to take over Warburtons’ Newport bakery in Rogerstone, with plans to safeguard many of the 114 jobs at risk.

Warburtons entered into a 90-day consultation period in September, following the announcement that it was proposing to close the site in South Wales.

Brace’s announced its interest in taking over the site at the time and has since been in discussions with Warburtons, which has now agreed the sale in principle.

“We have been interested in opening a site within Newport for a number of years, so this move will be a positive one for all parties involved,” commented Scott Richardson, sales and marketing director at Brace’s. He said the firm was “thrilled” that Warburtons had accepted its offer.

He said the acquisition of the Rogerstone site was key to its future expansion plans and would enable Brace’s to bolster its position in South Wales.

“The long-term future of the staff depends on the conversations we have with Warburtons over the next few weeks,” said Richardson. “We will do everything we can to ensure the transfer of the bakery and its staff runs as smoothly as possible.”

Warburtons said the firm would now be entering a period of due diligence with the aim of concluding the sale and managing the transfer of the bakery and its employees to Brace’s.

A spokesperson said: “Both companies will be working towards completing the sale and transfer as soon as possible.

“This is a positive outcome for Warburtons and the employees at Newport, whose employment will continue with the prospective new owners.”

Warburtons, the biggest bakery brand in the UK, saw a 2.5% fall in sales in 2010 (MAT 2 October, Nielsen), in a tough year for the wrapped bread category. Britain’s fourth-biggest brand Brace’s, which is focused in Wales and the south west, fared better, with sales down 0.8%.

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