Flowers Foods Inc. officials have announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Derst Baking Company, headquartered in Savannah. The transaction, expected to be complete within a few weeks, will be accomplished as a merger involving the exchange of Flowers Foods common stock for Derst Baking Company stock.

Derst Baking Company, which operates profitably on annualized sales of approximately $50 million, is a family-owned business with one bakery in Savannah. The company employs 475 people and operates 165 direct-store-delivery routes that serve customers and consumers in South Carolina, eastern Georgia and north Florida with fresh breads and rolls under the Captain John Derst's Old Fashioned Bread and Sunbeam brands.

George E. Deese, Flowers Foods' chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president said, "The Derst family name has been a part of the U.S. bakery business for 139 years and we are fortunate to have this fine organization merge with Flowers Foods. The merger will provide more efficient service as well as new products and brands throughout the territories served, which will benefit Flowers Foods and Derst Baking as well as our customers."

Deese noted Derst Baking Company will operate under its current name as a part of Flowers Foods Bakeries Group.

Headquartered in Thomasville, Flowers Foods, with annual sales of over $1.7 billion, is one of the nation's leading producers and marketers of packaged bakery foods for retail and foodservice customers. Flowers operates 35 bakeries that produce a wide range of bakery products marketed throughout the Southeastern, Southwestern, and mid-Atlantic states via an extensive direct-store-delivery network and nationwide through other delivery systems.

Among the company's top brands are Nature's Own, Cobblestone Mill, Sunbeam, BlueBird, and Mrs. Freshley's. For more information, visit

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