Despite recently reporting increased third quarter profits of 3%, Maple Leaf Bakery will be closing its Walsall site early 2012.

The Canada Bread-owned company confirmed today that 236 workers at the Midland manufacturing facility are now in the process of a 90-day consulation period with their jobs at stake, unless it could find a new buyer before next February or March.

It said it wanted to focus more on its speciality bread product brands such as The New York Bakery Co, which helped the company to accumulate more than £80m profits for the third quarter to 30 September 2011, compared to £78.2m in the previous year.

Paul Clipson, HR director and spokesperson for The Maple Leaf Bakery, said: “We have chosen not to stay in sliced bread, which is produced in Walsall. Sadly, that means we are pulling out of Walsall but we are actively looking for a buyer, with the hopes of transferring employment at the site. We are doing all we can to find a buyer and save employment.”

The Walsall bakery has been in Raleigh Street since the 1800s and produces Harvestime sliced loaves. The company’s Yorkshire plant will continue to operate, producing speciality breads such as bagels, ciabattas and croissants.

Clipson added: “We are hopeful of finding a buyer, however we cannot comment on any potential offers that are on the table. We are working closely with The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union and other trade unions to support our workers during this period. We have kept our staff fully informed and they have been very professional throughout the whole process so far.”