Tayto boss completes purchase of McErlain's Bakery, safeguarding 260 jobs

Tayto Group CEO, Paul Allen is the new owner of McErlain’s Bakery
Gareth McKeown

THE boss of crisp maker Tayto has been confirmed as the new owner of McErlain's Bakery, safeguarding over 260 jobs.

Magherafelt-based McErlain's, which produces the Genesis Crafty range as well as products for the likes of Marks and Spencer and Tesco, has been sold to Paul Allen, best known as the CEO of the Tayto Group.

The bakery had experienced trading difficulties over the past year, with Andrew Dolliver and Luke Charleton of EY officially appointed as administrators to the company yesterday. In advance of the process the administrators worked with the business to identify a buyer, with the sale concluding shortly after the appointment for an undisclosed sum.

Mr Allen confirmed he will continue in his role with Tayto following the acquisition and will take on a non-executive role position within McErlain's. Brian McErlain will continue as the company's chief executive.

“This is a private investment by me and my family," Mr Allen said.

"The McErlain family have built a great business, with excellent products which have national markets. I'm hoping that in my non-executive role with the company, I will be able to use my experience in the industry to help guide the growth of both the Genesis Crafty brand and the overall business.

“I'm delighted that the jobs at the factory have been secured and that Brian McErlain will be staying on as managing director. I see this as a very sound business with great potential."

"I'm now looking forward to seeing the company return to substantial, managed, successful growth and further investment in the future," Mr Allen added.

Brian McErlain said he is hopeful the new owners will be a "real benefit" to the company.

“This is obviously a time of mixed emotions; sadness that it is now a different family who own the business, but hope for the future and the growth of the Genesis Crafty brand."

"Paul Allen's ability is very well respected in the business community, not just in Northern Ireland but further afield and I believe that his involvement will be a real benefit to the company. I'd like to pay tribute to all our staff, customers and suppliers, who have been through some difficult times with us and whose support we have really appreciated," he added.

Chief executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts described the sale as "very welcome news"

"Genesis Crafty is a long standing member of Retail NI and enjoys an excellent relationship with the independent retail sector in Northern Ireland. Retail NI members played a important role in supporting the growth of Genesis Crafty. I have no doubt that the business will have a very secure future with its new owner," he said.

McErlain's Bakery was founded 50 years ago by Joseph and Roberta McErlain. The company was rebranded in 1998, with the parent's six children at the helm. All siblings bar Brian McErlain are now leaving the business following Mr Allen's purchase.

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