Belfast Telegraph

Last of six brothers quits McErlain's bakery

Mixed emotions: Brian McErlain
Mixed emotions: Brian McErlain
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The managing director of collapsed bakery firm McErlain's has stepped down from the business following its sale, it has emerged.

The business is continuing to trade after its sale in August. But the departure of Brian McErlain from McErlain's in Magherafelt breaks the last remaining link between the business, and the six brothers who were formerly the public face of the company.

McErlain's Bakery (Magherafelt) Ltd, which manufactured buns, breads and other products for supermarket chains like Tesco and Marks & Spencer, went into administration with debts of £4.3m after soaring costs put pressure on the business.

The company also made its own range of products under the Genesis Crafty brand - a name which is still being used by the business's new owners. However, the McErlain's name is no longer in use.

Around 260 jobs were saved after Tayto Group chief executive Paul Allen bought over the business for £1.85m as part of a new company, Hatch Bros.

Brian McErlain had stayed on as managing director of the company in the early months of the deal. But he has now followed his five brothers in leaving the business. A spokeswoman for the new owner confirmed he had left.

It's understood the company has recruited around 50 new staff as production ramps up before Christmas, with efforts now to fill around 12 management positions. It's expected that a search for a new managing director will also begin.

Speaking in August when the sale was announced, Mr McErlain said: "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."

His parents Joe and Roberta had set up the business in 1969.

Creditors of the company voted in favour of a deal for repayment of part of their debts at a creditors' meeting in Toomebridge last month.

The biggest creditors include dairy co-op Dale Farm, which was owed £641,052.

Belfast Telegraph