European frozen bakery sup-plier Lantmännen Unibake has increased its share in Bakehouse, and now has a majority stake in the bake-off supplier.

It has increased its share from 25% to 63.25% for an undisclosed sum. With this purchase it hopes to strengthen its position in the UK, which is now its largest market.

It is Lantmännen’s second major investment in the UK bakery market in the last year, following its acquisition of Eurobuns in May 2008. This acquisition gave the firm the ability to start production in the UK for the first time. Lantmännen CEO Bent Pultz Larsen said the agreement with Bakehouse comes as a natural extension of the Eurobuns acquisition.

Bakehouse, based in Surrey, will continue to operate independently, producing sweet and savoury pastries and speciality breads.

Marketing director Kate Raison told British Baker that it will very much be business as usual for Bakehouse. "The relationship provides us with access to the many factories that Lantmännen owns in Europe and we will continue to work with them and our other partners overseas, to provide a single point of contact for a wide range of products," said Raison.

"It will also enable us to continue supplying products to Bakehouse Australia, which has been a huge success for us, and to consider other markets in due course."

Bakehouse has plans for considerable growth in the UK and an exciting NPD programme in place for the next 18 months and beyond, she continued. "We have plans to develop all of our chosen market channels - retail, wholesale and foodservice - through optimising our knowledge of the market and forthcoming NPD."