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Pre-Pack Deal Saves Bakery Jobs

dough in balls and a rolling pin

McErlain’s Bakery has been saved from administration, in a pre-pack deal which will protect the livelihoods of more than 250 employees.

Paul Allen, who also owns the Northern Irish Tayto Group crisp manufacturer, stepped in to save the company from the brink.

Administration planned

McErlain’s Bakery appointed Andrew Dolliver and Luke Charleton from the EY accounting firm on the same day that the new buyer was announced, having planned the process carefully. Dolliver and Charleton were on hand with McErlain’s previously to help them identify a buyer before they initiated the administration, allowing the business to continue operating as normal until that point was reached.

The baker produces the Genesis Crafty range, and is also responsible for a number of own-label cake and bread ranges for other stores. These include Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, and Tesco. The sale of the business has helped to save 250 jobs – including that of managing director Brian McErlain, who will be staying on as part of the deal.


McErlain said that the decision was bittersweet. While the family was very happy that there was a potential future – and even the possibility of growth – for the Genesis Crafty brand, he was also sad to see it passing on into the hands of a new owner. However, he did express gratitude that this particular owner had been found, with a real positive outlook on what Allen could bring to the company.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Private investment

Paul Allen said, “This is a private investment by me and my family. 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. We have been working closely with Danske Bank and John McMahon’s legal team at Keystone Law and their support and expertise has been invaluable. I’m now looking forward to seeing the company return to substantial, managed, successful growth and further investment in the future.”

Dolliver commented that he felt sure that McErlain’s Bakery is now set up for a positive future, owing to the knowledge and experience that Allen brings to the company. He said, “Our priority to McErlain’s was to achieve a better result for the company’s creditors as a whole and to identify a buyer who would bring the business back to a position of stability where it could continue to trade, and importantly, where its employees were protected. We have worked closely with stakeholders in recent weeks to navigate a complex transaction and are pleased that McErlain’s is now set up for a very positive future through the knowledge and experience which Paul Allen will bring to the fore.”

This is great news for the 250 jobs and other positions held within the company, which had previously been at risk. Employees can now rest assured that their jobs are in good hands, and will be able to have faith in a resurgence for the brand as it pushes into a new direction.