Patisserie Holdings chairman Luke Johnson has told MCA that the c200-strong group is open to the possibility of a group acquisition, but is waiting for the right opportunity

It comes as The Times reports this morning that the group is lining up a £150m bid for Gail’s Bakery, also chaired by Johnson.

Johnson told MCA: “It’s just a matter of finding the right one. We are being pretty choosy. We want to make sure what we buy has a strategic fit, that the synergy is enhancing - and is obviously available.”

Speaking after the Patisserie Valerie operator revealed EBITDA for the year to 30 September up 15.7% to £25.6m, the directors said the group would target 20 new sites this financial year, with six due to have opened by the end of December.

Managing director Paul May said the was an opportunity to grow the group’s online cake business, which is currently worth £4.8m out of £114.2m in total sales.

May said: “We’ve seen good growth in the e-cake business over a number of years, and we’ve been a bit more targeted on the social media side, and as an organisation we think there’s a huge opportunity.

“We do a reasonable amount, but by the size of the marketplace, we have a fairly small piece of the cake.”

May said having opened its first Philpotts after acquiring the bakery brand, there were opportunities to modernise the existing estate.

He said: “Effectively we’ve modernised it, and focused on the queueing elements. Most of the sales are in the lunchtime period. Generally refreshed the whole thing. We’re happy with the performance so far, which gives a chance to go back and make some improvements, with a view to looking for some more if the right opportunities come along.”

May said the priority with Baker & Spice was finding the right locations for the premium offering, with a site in Brighton not right and converted to a Patisserie Valerie.

He said the partnership with Debenhams’s was a cost-saving benefits in allowing the group to enter expensive areas such as Oxford Circus and the Ireland.