Donegal bakery sells majority stake to UK private equity firm

Promise Gluten Free in Ardara has sold a majority stake for an undisclosed sum

Promise Gluten Free was founded in 2011 by Declan Gallagher.

Promise Gluten Free was founded in 2011 by Declan Gallagher.


Donegal headquartered Promise Gluten Free has sold a majority stake to a London-based private equity firm, Mayfair Equity Partners.

The bread company was founded in 2011 by Declan Gallagher, Tom Doyle and Ciarán Lally and the group is said to have “experienced rapid growth both domestically and internationally”. The company recently won a contract to supply gluten-free bread to up to 10,000 outlets in Canada. It also sells to the US, Australia and the UK where it is stocked by major retailers Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

“Mayfair’s support will enable the company to accelerate its international expansion strategy”, the company said in a statement.

“Plans are also in place to further develop Promise’s physical presence in the US and European markets to meet fast-growing demand.

“The partnership with Mayfair illustrates the strong support for the senior management team.

“Mayfair’s understanding and experience within the sector will aide future product and capability development as Promise strengthens its presence in core and new markets.”

While a price for the deal was not disclosed it is understood to be worth tens of millions.

Commenting on the investment, founder Declan Gallagher said: “In Mayfair we have found a partner with a proven track record in our sector that will not only help us achieve success, but also matches our entrepreneurial spirit.”

Mayfair’s managing partner, Daniel Sasaki, said: “Promise is attracting international attention as it continues to build sales momentum as an innovator in the sector. We see the same potential for exceptional growth in Promise that we identified in our previous highly successful investment with Fever Tree.”

In addition to the investment, Promise has appointed new board members. Robert Leechman joins the company as chairman having worked for over 35 years in the consumer goods sector. Meanwhile, Jeff van der Eems, the former chief executive of United Biscuits, will be joining as a non-executive director.

The success of the company is significant considering it almost closed down in 2011. It was saved after managing director Declan Gallagher, son of the founder of the original company, Frank Gallagher, bought it back from what is now Aryzta.

Over the last five years the company has created over 200 new jobs at its manufacturing facility in Ardara, Co Donegal.