New Biscuit Manufacturers

Enterprise Biscuits

There were three bread bakeries in Cape Town, all of about the same size, and one of these was Enterprise Bakeries.   The Managing Director was Mr Leon Roup who had a likeable personality and was a hardworking businessman.   Although he and my cousin, Desmond Baumann, were in competition (we operated a bread factory trading under the name of Duen’s Bread) they got on well together.

Mr Roup decided that he would like to enter the biscuit business and he installed two ovens in his Cape Town premises.   There were no fireworks and business just seemed to trundle along.  I don’t think he found it very profitable, his main business being the bread side. 

It was in March 1976 that Selected Products needed a further biscuit plant to increase its capacity.  We knew that Mr Roup did not run both his biscuit plants regularly and probably that one was dormant for most of the time.  My cousin, Desmond Baumann, approached Mr Roup to ask whether he had a plant for sale.  It soon became apparent that he was not interested and we withdrew our interest.

Three months later, in June 1976, the General Manager of SASKO telephoned our Financial Director in Durban saying that the biscuit plant was available in Cape Town and he wondered whether we would be interested. 

In further discussions it transpired that SASKO, which was a large flour milling co-op in Cape Town and supplied all the flour to Enterprise Bakery, had owned half of the Enterprise company and had now acquired the other half.  It was their intention to concentrate on bread only and close down the biscuit side.

It was arranged that we would negotiate with Mr Roup and a deal was concluded effective from 31 August 1976.  We purchased the operation for R350 000, payable in four quarterly amounts of R87 500, with 10% interest payable at the end of the period.

The machinery, which was second hand plant but in good condition, was then moved into Baumann’s Biscuit Factory under the direction of my cousin, Edwin Baumann, and our Chief Engineer, Mr J Smith.  We estimated at that time that the cost of a completely new  biscuit line would have been approximately R1 500 000.00.