We should thank heaven for business angels like Paul Allen

It may well be assumed by casual observers that Northern Ireland runs - like the rest of the country - on oil, gas, electricity and Greggs.

Saturday, 25th August 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:17 pm
Not all firms survive but some dont always deserve to fail; Genesis Crafty gets another chance

But as we know - on so many different levels - Nothern Ireland is not as other parts of the so-called United Kingdom.

One of the principal fuels, that we’re more happy to talk about anyway, is bread.

We have so much bread that many people, and this is a totally unproven (bread joke) fact, actually die without experiencing them all despite a lifetime of gleeful consumption.

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I once met a somewhat bewildered buyer for a major supermarket chain that had recently taken up residence in the province, no names but it’s planning to merge with Asda, who was stunned at the local loyalties here.

A butter, he told me, which was in the top five everywhere else in the UK, was shoved well out of the top 10 by a host of local rivals.

So it is with bread.

Which is why it was sad and then good news to learn that bakery business Genesis Crafty was to be bought out of administration by Tayto CEO Paul Allen.

Having played a key role in building Northern Ireland’s favourite crisp maker into the biggest British-owned crisp and snack manufacturer, producing five million bags a day across six UK sites, he’s a good man to have in your corner.

He’s clearly no fool but also a real person happy enough to admit that he did one acquisition while waiting in the car while his mum was in the butchers buying her Christmas turkey.

As with any ‘flat-pack’ administration, there are people smarting that the debts of the old firm are gone. As we have seen most recently with House of Fraser, it’s not a new concept though many feel there are ethical questions involved with the process.

As a lawyer friend once put it: a flat pack leaves a business able to carry on buying from suppliers in the future as opposed to them winding up with any cash going straight to the bank and HMRC.

Firms have a choice to carry on supplying, but Genesis Crafty got this far through skill and determintation and Paul Allen has skill and experience running big companies which sounds like a good mix. And almost 300 people are still earning a wage

So, does that mean we’re going to get a cheese and onion flavoured spudbread? Probably not...