Finsbury Food Group is drawing up plans to tap new markets and licensing opportunities following its acquisition of Fletchers Group.

The £56m deal for the morning goods and specialist bread supplier will virtually double Finsbury’s annual sales to £300m. Fletchers, which was acquired by private equity firm Vision Capital in 2007, operates from three UK sites and produces fresh and frozen goods including muffins, buns, pastries and doughnuts.

Foodservice customers include 3663 and Country Range, and it supplies own-label products to retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S.

The deal would give Finsbury access to new foodservice channels and help diversify its customer base, said Finsbury CEO John Duffy.

The deal also extended the group’s product range, he added. “These will offer new opportunities to our existing licensors and we will be speaking to them in the coming months.”

“The acquisition is a transformational development for Finsbury and we will be one of the largest speciality bakery groups in the UK.”

The opportunity to acquire Fletchers arose three or four months ago, but Duffy had been eyeing the business for some time. There were no plans to make changes to either business in the short-term, Duffy added, describing the deal as a “low risk” acquisition that is expected to be earnings-enhancing during its first full year of ownership.

Due to the size of the acquisition it will be treated as a reverse takeover and will require shareholder approval in order for the enlarged share capital to be admitted to AIM. Details of the enlarged business and notice of a general meeting have been sent to shareholders.

Brokers Cenkos described the deal as a “step-change” for Finsbury.

“Management has done an excellent job in recapitalising the business and we are encouraged that it is now looking to press on and lead consolidation in the sector with a sizeable transaction,” it said.

Finsbury sold its stake in the gluten-free bakery business Genius in February 2013 for £21m.