HISTORY OF BAKER PERKINS IN EUROPE
Continental Europe represented for Baker Perkins, both an opportunity and the home of some of its strongest competitors. For many years it preferred to serve the market through agents, supported by visits from key personnel, and by building strong commercial and technical relationships with well-established Continental machinery manufacturers who could supply equipment and technology that complemented Baker Perkins' own.
One of the important events in the early days of Joseph Baker, Sons & Perkins Ltd was the signing of the 'Credo Agreement' between Joseph Baker Sons & Perkins and Savy Jeanjean et Cie of Paris, who manufactured chocolate and soap machinery. Later, in 1921, a further alliance was concluded with Werner & Pfleiderer, Cannstatt, for the exploitation of the world market for bread, biscuit, chocolate, confectionery and chemical machinery. This three-cornered arrangement lasted until the beginning of WW2 in 1939, and in a modified form until 1963 when the holding in Savy Jeanjean was sold - the investment in Werner & Pfleiderer being retained until 1986.
The story of Baker Perkins' long relationship with Werner & Pfleiderer will be covered later.
1932 saw an agreement being made by Forgrove, in collaboration with Baker Perkins, with Messrs Hansella GmbH of Viersen, Germany. Hansella's line of sweet producing machinery linked well with Forgrove's range of 'plastic' wrapping machines. In this arrangement, under a reciprocal agreement, Hansella acted as a Baker Perkins agent in Germany and elsewhere for the sale of wrapping and packaging equipment. The agreement lasted until 1939 but was revived again after WW2, lasting until 1954.
After WW2, the Company continued its policy of demonstrating its equipment at the major trade exhibitions around the world, exhibiting wrapping and sugar confectionery equipment at the Hanover Fair and the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1956 and in that year, Forgrove GmbH was established in Cologne by the Forgrove Machinery Company to develop what was then a small market previously handled by an agent. The new company's first success came in selling bread wrapping machines despite the fact that German bread does not favour automatic wrapping equipment. Business increased so much that their rented premises in Cologne soon became inadequate and in 1962, new offices, with demonstration rooms and servicing facilities, were built near Cologne Airport and autobahn. With the re-organisation of the group's packaging machinery businesses in 1967, Forgrove GmbH was renamed Rose Forgrove GmbH.
In 1957 a business arrangement was made between Baker Perkins and the
German company, Sollich KG of Bad Salzuflen, an association that lasted
15 years or so. The association led to some major developments in the
design of chocolate enrobers and chocolate tempering machines.
1959 saw the beginnings of an ill-fated venture with the Government of Israel and Israel Mining Industries in the development of the use of the heavy liquid, Tetrabromoethane (T.B.E), to separate particles of different specific gravities as required by the mining industry. Unfortunately, the material proved too toxic and the venture was terminated (see History of Baker Perkins in the Chemical Business).
An investment company, Baker Perkins AG Zug, was established in 1962 with headquarters in Switzerland. On 1st February 1966 a branch of the Swiss subsidiary was registered in Paris under the name of Baker Perkins S.A. for the importation and sales of group products in France formerly handled by agents or by direct visits from the UK. Another subsidiary, Baker Perkins Engineers GmbH, was set up to control the Group's activities in Spain.
It was in 1920 that the first machine made by a company in the Baker Perkins group went to Sweden - a wrapping machine. From then until 1960, Baker Perkins was represented by agents and a representative. Then, Hugh Sykes, later to become the branch manager, went to Sweden in October 1960 - the branch being officially registered in May 1962. A new office was opened in 1963 in Jakobsberg, about 12 miles from Stockholm. The branch first sold wrapping machines, chocolate and confectionery equipment and plastics machinery. There was a strong accent on service and the branch carried out its own wrapping machine installations. Later, it began to look after Halley Rotogravure presses as well as Baker Perkins bakery machinery.
In 1964, exports to Germany, mainly of wrapping and packaging machinery through Forgrove GmbH, Cologne, made that country the largest single export market for group products manufactured in the UK. An agreement was signed in May 1966 for the Forgrove Machinery Company to market the Robert Sendler, Recklinghausen, Germany range of plastic thermo-forming packaging machinery on a world wide basis. In 1967, the Group acquired a 45% interest in a new partnership in Germany, Rudolf Lensing K.G., together with worldwide sales for that company's machinery for the thermo-plastic forming of packages. The machines were sold as a complimentary line to the Rose Forgrove wrapping and packaging machines. The Group's interest in Lensing was sold in 1970.
By 1965, Baker Perkins also had a branch office - for the import of group products - in Stockholm, with a branch in Copenhagen being opened in 1967.
An agreement was signed in May 1966 for the Forgrove Machinery Company to market Robert Sendler, Recklinghausen, Germany range of plastic thermo-forming packaging machinery on a world wide basis. In 1967, the Group acquired a 45% interest in a new partnership in Germany, Rudolf Lensing K.G., together with worldwide sales for that company's machinery for the thermo-plastic forming of packages. The machines were sold as a complimentary line to the Rose Forgrove wrapping and packaging machines.
Also in 1966, Baker Perkins gained an order, in the homeland of its key competition, for cake and swiss roll plants to be installed in a new factory in Berlin. These were the first large scale automatic cake plants to be installed in Germany. The contract also included Douglas Rownson conveying and refrigerating plant and Rose Forgrove packaging equipment. Bellevue Feine Kuchen's products were to be sold throughout West Germany.
The Group's interest in Lensing was sold in 1970.
What was claimed to be the largest bakery in the world outside the Americas and the UK and the only Australian-owned bakery in Europe, was the destination, in 1970, of a huge bread baking oven designed and built by Baker Perkins Pty, Australia. The 64 feet by 11 feet by 11 feet 80-tray Simplex oven weighed 34 tons and was shipped to Greece in two halves as deck cargo on the 'Northumberland'. Fully automatic and capable of producing 4,000 loaves per hour - requiring only two men to operate it - the oven was the first shipment of over 230,000 worth of Baker Perkins supplied equipment.
Malaxeurs Guittard of Chelles, France was acquired by Baker Perkins Holdings for £1.113m in March 1978 providing Baker Perkins with its first wholly-owned manufacturing facility on the continent of Europe. (See also Baker Perkins in the Chemical business). Two years later, in March 1980, another manufacturing entity was acquired in Europe – Pavailler SA – designers and manufacturers in France and Italy of a range of machinery and ovens for small ‘artisan’ bakeries. Pavailler also had branch offices in Germany – Pavailler Deutschland GmbH and in Belgium, Pavailler Belgium SA. Also in 1980, a subsidiary of Baker Perkins Chemical Machinery Ltd - Baker Perkins Chemical Machinery Srl - was formed to sell and service Chemical division products in Italy.
A 100% owned subsidiary of Pavailler S.A., Societe Nouvelle F.I.M.A. Sarl, France, was formed on 1st April 1982 to operate the business of Societe Francaise d’Isothermie et du Material Alimentaire situated in Ham, France.
Baker Perkins Group Sales by Region
In 1982, the last year in which figures were split at this level, the sales by geographical area were as follows:
An office to handle the distribution and servicing of Baker Perkins Chemical Machinery products was opened in Cologne in January 1984, at the same address as Rose Forgrove GmbH. In May 1987, Baker Perkins Chemische Maschinenbau moved its offices from Cologne to Hanover.
Baker Perkins Food Machinery Srl, Turin, Italy was established in 1985 in response to the steady growth in the Italian market for bakery, biscuit, confectionery and snack food equipment. In a continued expansion into the Italian bakery machinery market, during the summer of 1985, Pavailler acquired the business of an Italian bread machinery manufacturer ESA Taurus. Following the acquisition, its products were manufactured at the Pavailler, Milan factory. Later, in October 1968, Pavailler S.A. acquired the share capital of Franco Berto Srl, Schio, Italy, a small business manufacturing a range of equipment for the retail and patisserie industries complementing that of Pavailler.
For individual histories of each of the group subsidiaries in Continental Europe see:
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