CSM vowed to make itself the "European premier supplier of choice" in the coffee shop sector, following its acquisition of Kate’s Cakes this week.

The Dutch group, which owns BakeMark in the UK, bought Kate’s Cakes, which supplies customers including Starbucks, Pret A Manger and Waitrose, for £20.5 million plus £12m debt on Tuesday.

The Dutch group said it planned to run West Sussex-based Kate’s Cakes and Wirral-based BakeMark UK "largely independently", following the deal. Kate’s Cake’s management team, headed by MD Steve Greenhalgh would be retained for the "foreseeable future".

Marco Bertacca, CSM’s European vice-president for frozen and bakery products said: "Kate’s will complement our existing UK operations while providing a superb platform and effective model to enable us to focus on the growing opportunities within the coffee shop sector right across Europe. We have the clear aim of becoming the European premier supplier of choice within this important, fast-emerging channel."

Greenhalgh said the resources and market knowledge which CSM brought to Kate’s Cakes would help take the business to another level.

BakeMark UK and Kate’s would be "left alone to do what they do best", he said and customer contacts will be unchanged. He said: "Both Kate’s Cakes and BakeMark UK have strong market leading positions with highly effective individuals, teams and working methodology.

"While we will creatively explore synergies, we will be very careful not to disturb what is a winning formula within both firms."

Kate’s Cakes employs some 470 people and has annual sales of around £23m, recording "strong double-digit growth" over the last few years, said CSM. The company was founded in 1989 and was bought by Greenhalgh in 1999.

"This acquisition allows us to more quickly become a worldwide partner for leading companies in the high-quality foodservice and out-of-home markets," said CSM chief executive Gerard Hoetmer.

BakeMark UK country manager John Lindsay commented: "CSM is always looking for exciting purchases worldwide. It is great to see it actively investing in UK bakery."