Cake giant Inter Link says it plans to create four major production hubs in the UK and one in Poland, as it modernises its business. In a few years, Inter Link, which currently has 10 UK bakery businesses and one in Poland, hopes to have consolidated activities to five large hubs, including Blackburn, Trafford Park in Manchester and Poland, chief executive Paul Griffiths revealed to British Baker.

Speaking after Inter Link revealed results for the year to May 2006, he said these hubs are likely to be clusters of factories close to each other. Inter Link has expanded rapidly, acquiring nine different businesses over the last 10 years, including the Polish baker Cukiernia Mistra Jana. It is now consolidating operations, he explained. Two bakeries closed last year, with production absorbed into alternative sites. Plans to close a third, Hoppers Farmhouse Bakery, were unveiled recently (British Baker, 30 June, pg 3).

As part of its efficiency drive, Inter Link is about to introduce central distribution. It will open a 189,000sq ft central distribution depot in Warrington, Cheshire, next month, run by logistics company Christian Salvesen.

All raw materials and finished goods for Inter Link’s UK and Polish business will pass through the site. Griffiths said: “Previously, distribution was operated by 12 separate hauliers across the UK. It was complicated and expensive. Having a consolidation warehouse will reduce complexity.”

Inter Link has also spent £1m on introducing a central IT system, which will go live by next month, providing extensive management data.

Two new 30,000sq ft production facilities are set to open in Trafford Park, alongside the existing Soreen plant. One, which will double its capacity for Soreen branded products, will open in the next couple of weeks. The second, due to open in spring 2007, will be Inter Link’s first production site for puddings, as it enters that market.

The company also plans to double production capacity at its Polish factory to 150,000sq ft in the next two years. And Griffiths stressed that Inter Link will continue to strive to be the UK’s number one cakes supplier; it is currently in number two position, behind RHM.

This week, Inter Link announced a 33% rise in sales to £130m for the year to 6 May. Profit before tax and exceptional costs was up by 21% to £7.1m.