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Talgarth Bakery goes for growth thanks to funding support

L-R: Howard Hughes Talgarth Bakery owner with Rob Barber of Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE. Picture by Nick Treharne

A long-established Welsh bakery is battling through the energy crisis with £250,000 support from Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE.

Talgarth Bakery which employs 96 has suffered a tripling of energy costs in the last year, posing a serious threat to the firm’s expansion plans.  However, UKSE has stepped in with third-round funding, and now a firm platform for future growth has been created enabling the Maesteg-based family firm to look ahead.

Owner Howard Hughes said the timely support from UKSE was most helpful. “This is a very successful business and has grown steadily over the years, but the unprecedented rises in energy costs were a serious problem.

“Overall, though, the market for our products is strong and this means we can move forward with our plans to create another 10 jobs in the short to medium term and look confidently ahead,” he said.

This is the third time UKSE has provided financial support for the business, and, according to Area Manager Rob Barber, the latest investment underlines the close relationship enjoyed with clients. “We pride ourselves on the fact that we build strong relationships with our investment clients and work hard to understand their businesses,” he said.

The loan is a mixture of working capital and investment to update equipment. “We have been able to step in to help Talgarth deal with these considerable problems in the economy that have caused difficulties for so many businesses, particularly ones with high energy use at a time of volatile prices and uncertainty,” he added.

“Talgarth is an important employer in the area and we are delighted to have been able to provide this support and help build a secure basis for the business going forward.”

Talgarth is one of South Wales best established food businesses, and its products are enjoyed on a daily basis across South Wales.  Mr Hughes started work as a baker when he left school.

In 1989 at the age of 21 he bought Talgarth Bakery eventually growing the business to its present £6 million turnover at premises on Spelter Industrial Estate.

It has a wholesale operation supplying baked and frozen savoury goods across South Wales to Bako and Castell Howell and to around 250 independent retailers. In 2020 it bought Bromby’s a sandwich company based in Whitland,  which supplies sandwiches to retail stores,  hospitals, schools and other institutions. The firm also owns the well-known Clarks Pies brand, and has a retail shop in Maesteg.

Talgarth has received support from the Welsh Government funded Investor Ready programme through BIC Innovation. Linda Grant, Managing Director of BIC Innovation commented, “We are very pleased to have been working with Talgarth Bakery through the Investor Ready Programme, which supports Welsh food and drink businesses to prepare for and secure investment.  Our team comprises experienced and skilled accountants who work closely with clients to guide them through the investment process, providing mentoring as well as a critical sounding board to ensure detailed and realistic business plans, forecasts and cashflows to support funding applications.”

Mr Hughes added that UKSE’s support over the years, and now at this strategic point, had helped the firm negotiate this difficult period. “It is pleasing that UKSE has stayed at our side for so long and been on hand to provide timely assistance. We are looking forward to continuing to grow and supply our high quality foods to the people of South Wales.”