Subsidiary Companies


Lyons Patisserie Ltd (CDL44 Ltd)

CDL44 Ltd was founded in 1981 by Chris Liveras and his two sons, Dion and Paul. Their initials, and the fact that Chris Liveras was 44 when he started the business, is the reason behind the company's unusual name. Chris Liveras had come to England from Cyprus in 1956 and for a time he worked in the Coventry Street Corner House making jellies. The story goes that his jelly making was not up to the Lyons standard and was persuaded to look elsewhere for employment.

In 1982 and based in Hartlepool, Teeside, Chris Liveras started a family business producing hand-made, high quality frozen cakes and gateaux. The north-east area of the UK has a long tradition of steel, coal, engineering and shipbuilding and it seemed unusual to start a cake making business in these parts. As a result it was difficult to recruit staff for food manufacturing and so with no local tradition of cake manufacturing CDL had to train its own confectioners to carry out the skilled tasks that cake production demands. Although it was possible to automate some aspects of production much of the cake decoration was carried out by hand and this made the operation at Hartlepool labour intensive. In those days machines could not place a half cherry, the right way up, on a cream whirl. Nevertheless Chris Liveras and his family persevered and after six years of continuous growth they were one of half a dozen companies making bespoke frozen cakes supplying their products to hotels, caterers and stores in and around Hartlepool and beyond. Own-brand gateaux in portion sizes from six to eighteen were made for many of the leading supermarket chains including Asda and Gateway. The business was developed without compromising on raw materials and the CDL product range of gateaux, éclairs and rhum-babas used a great deal of fresh cream - almost 2,000 gallons per day. CDL also developed their own brand which sold under the Majestic Label.

Lyons acquired CDL in September 1988, six years after it started, and gradual changes were made to management side of the business. Firstly Bob Hutchinson, who had previously worked at Hale Trent Cakes, was appointed Finance Director in October 1988 and Gordon Jenkins, Chairman of European Cake, Biscuit and Confectionery Sector, became the Chairman. Dion and Paul Liveras were joint Managing Directors, with Paul having responsibility for sales and distribution and the older brother Dion looking after production and purchasing. Other changes occurred in the accounting, budgeting and computer systems but the production system continued to operate in the traditional style. In March 1989, as part of its integration into Lyons, the company changed its name to Lyons Patisserie Ltd which coincided with its new Lyons Patisserie range.

When Lyons took over the company, CDL were employing 375 staff and were already associated with the Lyons Group; Margetts Ltd were supplying fruit toppings and DCA prepared cake mixes. However, the fortunes of Lyons deteriorated in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Allied Domecq plc, the parent company of J. Lyons & Co, management decided to refocus the business on spirits and wines. A casualty of this re-focusing was Lyons Patisserie Ltd and it was sold to Sweet 'n' Savory Frozen Foods in 1994/95; the precise date is not known.


© Peter Bird 2003


© Peter Bird 2002