Prima Bakeries Group becomes employee-owned business

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Cornwall-based Prima Bakeries Group has announced a transition to an employee-owned business model.

The company which incorporates brands Cornish Premier Pasties and Prima Bakeries, is said to be the fourth-largest producer of Cornish pasties in the world and the largest locally-owned producer in Cornwall.

Similar to the move made by food-to-go sandwich specialist Raynor Foods last November, Prima has established a new Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) to form a legal structure encompassing over 150 employees.

The transition is part of a long-term succession plan, according to Prima Bakeries Group managing director Mark Norton.

“We have always been proud of being a family-owned and run Cornish business and this feels a great way of extending the ‘family’ to include all our staff. The move reinforces our commitment to our employees and customers and allows our staff to share in the company’s success and actively participate in its future direction,” Norton said.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built at both Prima Bakeries and Cornish Premier Pasties and look forward to working alongside our dedicated team to strive for continued growth. I know the group will continue to flourish and I’m excited for the next chapter.”

According to Prima, its group sales grew by 20% year-on-year in 2023 with turnover expected to reach £14m this year. Future plans include creating 30 new jobs over the next five years, it said, as well as investing substantially in new equipment and production capacity.

Day-to-day management of the group is to continue under the existing directors and management team, with four trustees appointed to manage the new EOT on behalf of all employees including overseeing staff bonuses arising from future profits. Isca Ventures acted as the lead corporate finance adviser for the transaction.

Last year, Cornish Premier Pasties invested £135k in solar panels installed at its bakery in St Columb near Newquay. Its sister business Prima Bakeries operates a shop and production site around 20 miles further southwest in Redruth, from which it supplies a range of sweet and savoury products for retail and foodservice customers across the UK.

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