Warrens Bakery to focus on growth after agreeing CVA

Crisis-hit bakery business Warrens has agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with its suppliers and landlords.

A CVA is a process that enables a company to negotiate the repayment of its debt, rather than filing for liquidation or insolvency.

Warrens said its suppliers and landlords had voted overwhelmingly in favour of a CVA, based on the company’s growth strategy, financial forecasts and long-term relationships.

The move follows the announcement of a major restructure by the business, which made a loss of almost £1m in its last reported financial year.

Since the announcement, it has shut 22 company-managed shops and closed its factory in St Just, stating it was no longer economically viable. Its workforce has fallen from 500 to around 350 under the plans.

The business also made 60 staff in production and distribution roles redundant last summer.

Warrens continues to operate 44 managed shops, and said it was committed to profitable manufacturing at its factory in Callington

“We are particularly grateful for all the support we received from bakery industry participants, which reinforces what a special sector this is, including through periods of adversity,” the company told British Baker this week.

It described the CVA as an “exciting opportunity to reposition the business”.

“We can now focus on growth without the limiting constraints we inherited some years back,” Warrens stated. “Going forward, as well as growing our franchise arm, we will actively develop our own stores estate.”

The business has recently partnered with travel site operator SSP to open a 300 sq metre store in Gatwick Airport, and has said it planned to ramp up its focus on hospitals and travel hubs.

Warrens said the Cornish pasty would remain at the core of its business but it planned to also develop its range to meet consumer demand for a variety of products and price points.

In its latest accounts filed at Companies House, for the year ended 30 June 2018, the business made a loss of £915,000 compared to a £31,000 loss the previous year.

Warrens won the Craft Bakery Business Award in the 2018 Baking Industry Awards.

Subscribers to British Baker can find more information about Company Voluntary Arrangements here.

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