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A Lancashire company which is the world’s leading manufacturer of hotplates for the food industry has been acquired for a seven-figure sum, in a deal backed by Lancashire’s County Council’s Rosebud Finance.

Sugden’s hotplates are used by major food brands worldwide to make crumpets, pancakes, potato cakes, English Muffins and other savouries.

The company, which is based in Barrowford, has been acquired by Baldwin Engineering Holdings, whose subsidiary Baldwin Technical Services of Heywood manufactures and installs control systems for the food industry.

The two companies already collaborate on many projects and list major manufacturers such as Warburton’s, Premier Foods, and Allied Bakeries amongst their clients.

Sugden’s was acquired from the estate of the late Barry Mulholland, the founder and Managing Director who died suddenly in April 2014, and co-founder and director Keith Sutcliffe. The deal will secure the jobs of the company’s 15 staff.

Baldwin Engineering Holdings and Sugden will both be based at the Barrowford site, where there is capacity to expand the manufacturing operation, resulting in the creation of a further five jobs over the next year.

Since Mr Mullholland’s death, Baldwin’s founder Chris Baldwin has taken on the role of Managing Director at both companies.

Rosebud is a finance package supporting Lancashire firms to grow and expand their business. It is managed by Enterprise Ventures on behalf of Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL) – the county council’s economic development company.

County Councillor Niki Penney, chair of LCDL, said: “We’re pleased that Rosebud has been able to help to bring together these two companies. This will safeguard jobs in Barrowford and help them to expand their manufacturing operations, creating new jobs in the future.

“The aim of Rosebud is to create highly-skilled jobs across Lancashire by providing companies with the finance and support that they need. As well as funding your growth ideas, Rosebud also includes complimentary support and advice that’s tailored to your business.”

Paul Taberner of Enterprise Ventures said: “This acquisition makes a lot of sense. It gives Baldwin a facility to manufacture, where it previously subcontracted, and offers Sugden the security to move forward and expand its product range into existing and new markets. It also makes it easier for their major food clients which often prefer to deal with a single supplier.”

Pierce Corporate Finance carried out due diligence on the deal.