E. Terry Groff, chairman of Reading Bakery Systems, Robesonia, Pa., has announced the sale of a majority share of the company to Markel Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Markel Corp., Richmond, Va. Reading is a leading global designer and manufacturer of industrial baking systems for the production of crackers, pretzels, cookies and other baked snacks. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“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,” states Groff. “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 serving our customers in the growing baking industry.”

Reading Bakery Systems joins the Markel family of businesses serving the baking sector, but will continue to operate independently under the leadership of Groff. “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,” says Groff. “Our history of technical innovation will continue with the added benefit of the complementary technologies and engineering strength of the group.”

Other Markel baking equipment companies, which together with Reading will be known as the Markel Bakery Group, are AMF Bakery Systems, Richmond, Va.; BakeTech, Tucker, Ga.; and Tromp Bakery Equipment B.V., Gorinchem, Netherlands.