Finsbury completes acquisition of Just Desserts

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

The completion of the deal has saved 150 jobs
The completion of the deal has saved 150 jobs

Related tags Finsbury food group Industry Manufacturing

Finsbury Food Group has completed its acquisition of foodservice supplier Johnstone’s Just Desserts, saving 150 jobs at the firm, after buying the business out of administration.

A leading UK speciality bakery manufacturer of cake, bread and morning goods for retail and foodservice customers, Finsbury announced its intention to buy Johnstone’s on May 6.

Johnstone’s – the East Kilbride-based supplier of branded cakes and desserts to the foodservice industry – went into administration on March 25. Joint administrators Tom MacLennan and Geoff Rowley, partners at the restructuring and advisory firm FRP Advisory, continued trading at the business, while seeking a buyer.

Commenting on the completion of the deal, MacLennan said: “We are delighted to have secured the sale of the Johnstone’s Just Desserts business to Finsbury Food Group, which is widely regarded as one of the UK’s most progressive and entrepreneurial food manufacturing businesses. 

‘Securing all 150 jobs in food manufacturing’

“This is a great result both in safeguarding the business, and importantly for securing all 150 jobs in food manufacturing. We wish the new owners Finsbury Food Group every success with their expansion plans.”

The acquisition follows Finsbury’s purchase of Fletchers Group of Bakeries last year for £56M from private equity owner Vision Capital.

The combined businesses makes Finsbury one of the UK’s largest speciality bakery groups, with initial annualised sales of more than £270M.

Finsbury’s bakery product range now included: large premium and celebration cakes, small snacking cake formats – such as cake slices and bites – artisan, healthy lifestyle and organic breads through to rolls, sweet and savoury muffins and morning pastries. The range is available both in fresh and frozen formats.

Size of the prize

  • £926M: ambient packaged cake per year
  • £3.5bn: annual bread and morning goods sales
  • £900M: foodservice bakery sales per year 

“The company is now the second largest manufacturer of ambient packaged cake – excluding in store bakery – in the UK,”​ said Finsbury. Symphony IRI data values the market at £926M in December 2014.

The annual bread and morning goods market was valued by Kantar Worlpanel at more than £3.5bn.

The UK foodservice bakery sector is worth about £900M/year, 70% of which is morning goods.

‘Diversify into new channels’

Speaking after the acquisition last month, Finsbury ceo John Duffy said: “Johnstone’s Just Desserts will be a bolt¬on acquisition​ and is in line with our strategy to diversify into new channels.

“This illustrates the group’s continued reach into the foodservice ‘out-of-home eating’ market and the broadening of our product offering and customer base.”

Finsbury Food Group includes a UK Bakery division and an Overseas division, which comprises the firm’s 50% owned Company Lightbody Stretz. The business supplies and distributes the group’s UK manufactured products and third-party products mainly to European markets.

The group’s UK Bakery has manufacturing sites in Cardiff, Hamilton, East Kilbride, Salisbury, Sheffield, London and Manchester.

Meanwhile, Finsbury landed the coveted food and drink manufacturing industry Oscar Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year​ at last year’s Food Manufacture Excellence Awards. This year’s awards are now open for entries.

More information about the free-to-enter awards is available here​. All the trophies will be presented at a glittering gala dinner at London’s Lancaster hotel on Tuesday November 3.

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