Fletchers Group is investing in its site in Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield after selling three acres of brownfield land next to the Claywheels Lane site to supermarket group Sainsbury’s for a multi-million pound sum.
The bakery group will use the cash to fund plans to reconfigure its plant, moving existing production lines to create a new production and despatch facility and a new, surfaced car parking area at the site amongst other improvements.
Group managing director Stephen Holding said: “The completion of the land sale will provide a cash injection which is earmarked for a significant upgrade to the site and pave the way for business growth.
“Fletchers Group will re-invest proceeds from the land sale directly into its Sheffield operations, helping to provide consistent employment for more than 350 staff and facilitate improved technical standards and production efficiencies, which are crucial in the demanding food manufacturing environment.
“The project to invest the land-sale funds has started almost immediately and will take approximately 12 months to restructure the plant, modify existing buildings, landscape the grounds and surface a brand new car parking area.”
Fletchers’ factory was devastated by a fire in 2006 which destroyed 40 per cent of the production capacity at Claywheels Lane. Since then, a new management team, which joined the company in 2007 has succeeded in turning the business around, moving from an operating loss of almost £10 million to an operating profit of nearly £500,000 this financial year.
The group, which owns LBD in Barnsley, Kara in Manchester and Grain D’Or in London as well as the Wadsley Bridge bakery, invested more than £3 million last year, including developing a new plant to make English muffins in Sheffield.
Sixty five per cent of the 117-year-old business’s turnover comes from blue chip customers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Marks & Spencer.