The billionaire Issa brothers, who built an empire from a Bury petrol station, have now bought one of the UK’s biggest bakery businesses.
The EG Group, founded by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, has acquired Cooplands, which employs more than 1,600 people.
It was founded way back in 1885 by Frederick and Alice Coopland and is the second-largest bakery in the country.
CS Food Group Holdings, which is behind Cooplands, owns three bakeries that process ingredients and manufacture fresh food.
This is then distributed to around 180 stores and cafes – which are mostly in the North East and Yorkshire.
In a joint statement, Zuber and Mohsin Issa said: “We are very pleased to welcome Cooplands’ many talented colleagues to the EG Group family.
“Cooplands has a proven track record in the fresh bakery sector and vertical integration with EG Group will help to further drive our success in foodservice, where we continue to see strong growth opportunities in the UK and globally.
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“Following the acquisition of LEON in May, Cooplands is another fantastic fresh food brand to add to EG Group’s existing portfolio of third-party foodservice brands.
“The transaction will broaden the reach of Cooplands beyond the brand’s northern heartlands and bring its much-loved food to more existing and new customers through EG Group’s unparalleled network of roadside forecourts and retail convenience stores.
“We know that Cooplands’ impressive bakery platform and our food service expertise will be a winning combination.”
An EG Group statement said: “The acquisition will accelerate EG Group’s growing and successful diversification into foodservice and adds highly complementary assets that will drive development opportunities in other parts of the business.
“Today’s transaction will provide a platform to diversify the Cooplands brand into the transient petrol forecourt and retail convenience store channel, alongside the bakery chain’s traditional store formats, through EG Group’s extensive UK network.”
The acquisition of Cooplands as a proprietary brand follows EG Group’s acquisition of Leon in May 2021.
Blackburn-headquartered EG Group has said it plans to invest in the Cooplands brand and fresh food offer, to help ensure it continues to satisfy existing customers and attract new ones.
Belinda Youngs, CEO of Cooplands, added: “Cooplands is proud to be joining EG Group and bringing our long history of skills and expertise in the bakery industry in both manufacturing and retail to the company. We are looking forward to a great future for the Cooplands brand.”