FOOD giant CSM today said it has received the first offers for the giant Wirral bakery it put up for sale last year.
The Dutch-owned firm revealed in May that it wanted to sell off its European and American bakery supplies business, which includes the Bakemark plant and UK headquarters at Wirral International Business Park, in Bromborough.
The site, which employs 400 people, makes products such as cookies and doughnuts for supermarkets across the UK as well as icing and cake mix.
CSM wants to focus on its more profitable “bio-based ingredients” arm which makes products such as lactic acid.
The company said its plans for the bakery sale were on track and some initial bidders had already come forward.
Those bidders have now been given the chance to look in detail at the finances of the business to see if they want to proceed.
A spokesman said: “We have received initial non-binding offers for our bakery supplies activities and given a selected group of potential buyers access to our data room.
“In both Europe and North America, management presentations have been held for the benefit of these selected potential buyers.” CSM’s chief executive Gerard Hoetmer said: “The strategic transformation of CSM is progressing according to the original expectations.
“I am proud of the way our people have responded to this change and are continuing to focus on serving our customers and driving our results.”
The Bromborough site was opened by William Lever in 1916.
As part of Unilever, it became Europe’s largest refinery of edible oils, with locals calling it the “Stork margarine factory” after its most famous product.
In the 1990s, it underwent a £15m investment to transform it into a bakery ingredients factory before it was sold to CSM in 2001.
CSM revealed its annual results yesterday, earlier than usual so bidders could study them.
Total group sales for 2012 stood at £2.8bn, up 6% on 2011, driving its EBITA profit figure up to £146m.
Sales for the final quarter were up 6.5% to £731m.
Its European bakery supplies arm, including Bromborough, reported sales for the year of £957m – up 3.8% on 2011.