Délifrance UK has reappointed Ian Dobbie as MD, as it moved to complete the purchase of the speciality bakery companies Le Pain Croustillant and Sofrapain from Premier Foods.
Dobbie, who resigned as MD of Délifrance UK in October 2008 to head up ingredients company British Bakels, has returned to oversee the integration of Le Pain Croustillant, once it has been purchased from Premier Foods. The deal to buy the two companies is expected to be completed within the next two months.
Premier confirmed in its recent trading update that it had received an offer of around £8m for the companies from Délifrance’s French parent company Nutrixo. Le Pain Croustillant employs around 600 people and supplies retailers and foodservice custo-mers with speciality bread from a bakery in Southall, London, while Sofrapain’s 400 employees produce frozen speciality bread and Viennoiserie for retailers in France and the UK at three bake-ries in France. Délifrance UK, with 140 staff, has two bakeries in Leicestershire, supplying foodservice and retailers with a full range of bread and Viennoiserie.
"This is a fantastic and exciting opportunity," Ian Dobbie told British Baker. "There is a good product and trade fit between Délifrance and the two firms - they complement each other well."
British Bakels said it was "sorry to lose Ian, but recognises the opportunity presented by the new company and fully understands his decision to take it". He has been replaced by Ade Abass, who takes the position of general manager. Previously financial controller, Abass joined British Bakels in 2002, leading the recent £7m factory extension and implementing an IT system to integrate all areas of the business.
In related news, Premier Foods has announced it has received a firm offer of E50m (£45.1m) from private equity group Cerea Capital for its Martine Spécialités business, the remaining part of its specia-lity baking group in France.