Owner of Auburn’s Lepage Bakeries agrees to acquire Biddeford Hostess plant, but deal not done

Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union walk the picket line outside the Hostess bakery in Biddeford on Nov. 14, 2012. Hostess has since closed, and a Georgia-based company has announced an agreement to acquire the Biddeford plant.
Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union walk the picket line outside the Hostess bakery in Biddeford on Nov. 14, 2012. Hostess has since closed, and a Georgia-based company has announced an agreement to acquire the Biddeford plant. Buy Photo
Posted Jan. 14, 2013, at 12:15 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 14, 2013, at 5:43 p.m.

BIDDEFORD — The owner of Auburn’s Lepage Bakeries has signed an agreement to acquire several of Hostess’ food brands and bakeries, including the one in Biddeford.

A spokesman for Flowers Foods, based in Thomasville, Ga., on Monday morning confirmed for the Bangor Daily News that Hostess’ bakery in Biddeford is included on the list of bakeries Flowers will acquire from Hostess Brands Inc. if the deal, which was announced Friday, goes through to completion.

Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, in January 2012 filed for bankruptcy and in November said it would shut down for good. Flowers owns brands such as Nature’s Own and Tastykake.

The Biddeford Hostess plant employed nearly 600 people.

Several calls to the local representative from the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union were not returned.

But it’s not a done deal yet, said Keith Hancock, Flowers’ spokesman.

“We’re just announcing the agreement at this point,” he said. “It’s still subject to bankruptcy court approval and an auction whereby a company or companies could come in and win the bid.”

Flowers actually signed two asset-purchase agreements with Hostess last week. One of the agreements provides for the purchase by Flowers of the Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut bread brands; 20 bakeries, including the one in Biddeford; and approximately 38 depots for $360 million. The other agreement provides for the purchase by Flowers of the Beefsteak brand for $30 million.

Hancock didn’t have any comment on questions about what Flowers planned to do with the Biddeford bakery if the deal is completed.

“It’s way too early to talk about something like that,” he said, “and the reason is this deal isn’t final. We don’t own those facilities yet.”

Flowers is no stranger to Maine. In July 2012, it acquired Auburn-based Lepage Bakeries, which owns two bakeries in Auburn and a third in Brattleboro, Vt.

That deal significantly expanded Flowers’ presence in the Northeast, Hancock said. He didn’t have immediate figures available for how many people Flowers employs in Maine, but news reports from last year said Lepage employed a total of 550 people in its three bakeries.

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