Famous Sheffield bakery sold in £56m deal that will make it a national ‘superpower’

Paul Devlin, Fletchers finance director.

Paul Devlin, Fletchers finance director.

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A famous Sheffield company has been sold in a £56 million deal which will create a national baking ‘superpower’.

Fletchers Bakeries based at Wadsley Bridge has been bought by a Cardiff-based firm Finsbury Food, which will see its operations nearly double in size.

Fletchers employs just over 600 staff and also has plants in Manchester and London.

It was founded in the city in 1895 by George Henry Fletcher and generations of Sheffielders knew its well-known advertising slogan, ‘Better Fetch a Fletcher’s Loaf’.

The company was devastated by a disastrous fire at its Claywheels Lane site in 2006, which destroyed 40 per cent of its production capacity.

But it bounced back with the opening of a new £7 million plant last year with two state of the art production lines.

It now specialises in providing loaves, rolls, buns, baguettes and other products to restaurants, councils, hotels and pubs and its big high street customers include Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

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Fletchers was part of the Northern Foods group until 2007, when it was bought private equity firm Vision Capital.

The company was making operating losses of almost £10 million at that time, but more recently reported a profit of £600,000.

The new enlarged company will employ 3,000 people and will be one of the biggest of its kind in the country with sales worth £300 million a year.

Andrew Rich for Vision Capital said: “Finsbury is the ideal partner to take Fletchers into the next phase of its development and the combined group is well positioned to prosper.”

Fletchers managing director Stephen Holding said: “Fletchers has undergone a significant transformation since 2007, and I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of our colleagues which has made the company what it is today. This is an exciting next step and I’m looking forward to the future.”

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