Once the sale was completed this month, Creative Foods’s ready meals factory in Flint would continue operating, with its 142 staff becoming employees of David Wood Baking, Brakes said.
One campaigner posting on a ‘Save the Creative Foods in Flint’ Facebook page said: “So glad to read this. Brilliant news.” Another added: “Great news – so good to hear.”
Employees at the site had faced redundancy as a result of Brakes’s plans, announced earlier this year, to close the plant.
Having reached an agreement on the transaction, Brakes said it would enter a Transfer of Undertakings Employment Protection consultation with employees.
‘Keep the plant operating’
“This is obviously great news for employees and we’re really pleased that we’ve been able to find a suitable buyer who will keep the plant operating as a going concern,” said Ranald Forbes, divisional director at Brakes.
“This has been a very difficult and unsettling time for our colleagues at Flint, but we would like to thank them for the way they have continued to show their professionalism and dedication during the consultation process. We look forward to bringing this to a successful conclusion in June.”
David Wood is understood to have entered talks with local authorities and Welsh ministers in order to secure further funding to develop the business.
David Wood, md of David Wood Baking, said: “We're delighted to be acquiring Creative Foods. I am hoping to secure its long-term future, and will be working with the customers and employees of Creative Foods and the Welsh government and Flintshire County Council to ensure this happens over the next few weeks.”
Brakes kicked off a 45-day consultation on proposals to close the factory at the beginning of April. At the time, Julian Wild, partner and food sector specialist at legal firm Rollits, told FoodManufacture.co.uk he believed the move was part of a strategy to distance the foodservice operator from food processing.
Welsh Assembly member Sandy Mewies and Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart were involved in talks to find solutions to Creative Foods’s planned closure.
The business operates two plants: one at Aber Industrial Estate in Flint, which makes frozen ready meals, sauces, soups and pasta dishes and a desserts facility at Torquay in Devon.
Wood set up David Wood Baking in 2006, after selling his 50% stake in Country Style Foods, which he helped set up.
Based at Rothwell, Leeds, David Wood Baking makes frozen bake-off and craft bakery products, including savoury and sweet pastry, bread, morning goods and confectionery.