Private equity firm Risk Capital Partners has acquired "a large stake" in North London artisan bakery Bread Ltd, and has announced plans for the future growth of its wholesale business The Bread Factory, and Gail’s bakery and café estate.

Bread Ltd chief executive Tom Molnar said the firm had been developing the business and was ready to take it to the next phase of growth. Plans include a second production unit in North London to cope with expansion of both sides of the business.

Molnar told British Baker this was on the cards before Risk Capital acquired shares in the firm. However, the bakery now also plans to speed up the growth of its Gail’s estate in London, with four to seven new outlets planned per year.

"We will have nine Gail’s sites by the end of this month, with a new shop to open in South Kensington. It’s all about trying to re-establish the neighbourhood bakery in the UK," said Molnar. "In four or five years’ time, we hope to have over 20 sites."

Molnar said the firm had been looking at growth opportunities, and the idea was to bring a partner into the business who understood entrepreneurship and had food retail experience. The Bread Factory supplies the restaurant chain Giraffe also in Risk Capital’s business portfolio which is how the contact with Risk Capital chairman Luke Johnson was made. Molnar said Bread Ltd’s existing management has stayed in place and it would continue to be run in the same way, but that Risk was involved as an investor and as support.

The Bread Factory supplies breads, Viennoiserie and cakes to restaurants, hotels and contract caterers. Its bread is also available in Waitrose, Harvey Nichols and through Ocado.

Risk Capital Partners also owns premium café chain Patisserie Holdings, with stores under the Patisserie Valerie, Druckers and Baker & Spice brands.

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