Northern Irish bakery supplier Evron Foods is to open a manufacturing plant in Pontypool, South Wales next month to extend its reach in the UK.

Evron, which supplies Subway stores in the UK, Ireland and Scandanavia built the factory “largely to bring us closer to the UK market”, said marketing director Dominic Downey. The plant, which will be Evron’s second, has been built from scratch over the last 14 months, with the help of a Welsh Development Agency grant. It will initially employ around 50 people.

The facility will extend the firm’s reach in the south of the UK and will bring it closer to European markets, Mr Downey said. “We are much stronger in frozen than we are with chilled in the UK,” he added. “It is more difficult to service the chilled market from our Northern Ire-land base because of distribution and shelf-life issues. The Pontypool site solves that.”

The plant will make a limited product range, focusing on volume lines and automation. Evron will use it to develop its own customer base, as well as service existing accounts.

The 23-year old Evron Foods has a £12 million turnover and specialises in frozen and chilled bakery products, par-baked breads, added-value and flavoured breads. Its main brands are Easibake and La Baguette and it currently supplies the UK, retail, foodservice and wholesale sectors from its Portadown hub.