by Georgi Gyton

Newly-formed bakery firm Mathiesons Foods Limited is already making plans to streamline operations at its three bakery production sites in Scotland.

Mathiesons Foods has been formed by David Kilshaw, Mark Bradford and Paul Allan, following the purchase of Larbert-based Mathiesons Bakeries out of administration, saving around 340 jobs. The deal will see Mathiesons merge with two other bakery businesses: James Allan Bakers, owned by Bradford, and Murdoch Allan Bakers, run by Allan. Mathiesons Foods’ chairman Kilshaw is a former chief executive of sandwich business Food Partners.

"The plan, at the moment, is to keep all three trading names," retail director Bradford told British Baker. "They each have their reputation, product range and customer base, and we don’t want to upset that." Bradford said the firm would retain the Murdoch Allan bakery in Hatton, but there will be additional new lines from the Mathiesons range of products produced there. "The James Allan bakery in Torrance will close and merge with the nearby Mathiesons bakery at the earliest opportunity," he added.

Bradford said the trio met up at the beginning of February when they learnt Mathiesons was available for sale. "We felt there was an opportunity, as a joint venture, to take the business on, but while we were in the process of those discussions, the business went into administration at the beginning of March. "We each put equity into the business, but the majority of the funding came from Lloyds Banking Group."

He said the new business would benefit from the combined mix of business skills from each of the trio. Manufacturing and production director Allan added: "James Allan has a great range of shops in an area where Mathiesons isn’t at the moment, so the retail side complements very well, and, in addition, having Murdoch Allan as a producer in the north-east of Scotland, gives us a fantastic distribution area."

Bradford said the firm has the potential to grow and become one of Scotland’s largest independent bakery companies. The three businesses would have a combined total of 51 outlets, employing over 560 people. He said the firm would try to avoid any redundancies.