Markel Ventures, a subsidiary of Markel Corp., Richmond, VA, has acquired a majority share of Reading Bakery Systems. Reading Bakery is a global designer and manufacturer of industrial systems for the production of crackers, pretzels, cookies and other baked snacks.

“After over 40 years of building the company my father established, I sought to find a strong partner that would continue to build on all that we have accomplished at Reading,” says E. Terry Groff, chairman and chief executive officer of Reading Bakery Systems. “Markel will be that partner. Their strategy of investing in healthy companies and focusing on the long term is an approach that has always appealed to me and is one that will allow us to continue to excel at serving our customers in the growing baking industry.”

Reading Bakery Systems will be part of the Markel family of businesses serving the baking sector, but will continue to operate independently under the leadership of Groff. Other Markel baking equipment companies include AMF Bakery Systems, Richmond, Va.; BakeTech, Tucker, Ga.; and Tromp Bakery Equipment B.V., Gorinchem, The Netherlands. Together the baking equipment companies will be known as Markel Bakery Group.

“As part of Markel, we will keep the same name, brand identity, equipment, people and factories that have made us a respected supplier of baked snack equipment around the world,” Groff says. “Our history of technical innovation will continue with the added benefit of the complementary technologies and engineering strength of the group.”

Ken Newsome, president of AMF Bakery Systems and ceo of the Markel Bakery Group says, “The teams at AMF and Tromp are excited to join forces with innovative leaders like the team at Reading Bakery Systems. Reading’s experience in applying solutions like continuous dough mixing to the challenges that bakers face every day is a perfect example of a good fit for our group.

“AMF has been blessed to be part of Markel for seven years and it will be exciting to see Reading flourish under the same umbrella.”