Helen Gregory

Scullions Wholesale Bakery, a subsidiary of the McGhee Group, has bought fellow Scottish firm Fords Bakery out of administration, saving 87 jobs. However, the East Lothian firm’s nine shops have closed, with the loss of 41 staff, and another 26 have been made redundant from the bakery in Prestonpans.

Fords which had an annual turnover of £5m supplied supermarkets, foodservice companies and independent bakeries in East and Central Scotland with bread, cakes and confectionery. It faced problems with cash flow and the rising costs of raw materials, said administrators KPMG.

All its remaining employees will move to Scullions, which will continue to service Fords’ existing direct delivery customers and supermarkets, including more than 100 Co-operative stores, which supported the takeover.

Scullions Wholesale Bakery employs 220 staff at its site in Glasgow and said the sale would strengthen its presence in Scotland. McGhee’s MD Gordon McGhee said: "Fords Bakery, fits with our strategy of continuing to build a strong business model throughout Scotland."

McGhee’s Bakery supplies major catering groups, local authorities, independent retailers and cash and carry groups, selling more than 1.4 million premium rolls a week.

Fords is the second Scottish casualty in as many months to cite cash flow problems, following Mathiesons’ collapse.

Scottish Bakers president Alan Stuart commented: "I’m reasonably confident that there are no more lurking in the wood pile, but cash flow is by far the single biggest issue bakers face, and I am aware that supermarkets are looking to stretch their payment terms. Most of us are cut near the bone, so further serious cost cuts are difficult."