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Mexican bakery king Lorenzo Servitje, who turned Bimbo Bread into international empire, dies at 98

Lorenzo Servitje, founder of international snack and baked-goods empire Grupo Bimbo, is seen during a 2005 interview in Mexico City.
Lorenzo Servitje, founder of international snack and baked-goods empire Grupo Bimbo, is seen during a 2005 interview in Mexico City.
(Marco Ugarte / Associated Press)

Mexican bakery magnate Lorenzo Servitje, who built his Grupo Bimbo into an international snack and baked-goods empire that acquired brands such as Entenmann’s, Thomas, Freihofer’s and Stroehmann, has died. He was 98.

Grupo Bimbo said Servitje died Friday in Mexico City but did not mention the cause of death.

The head of Mexico’s Business Coordinating Council, Juan Pablo Castanon, called his death “a great loss for Mexico.”

Servitje was born in Mexico on Nov. 20, 1918, the son of a Spanish immigrant who started a bakery.

Servitje launched Grupo Bimbo in 1945 with other partners, starting with 38 employees and 10 delivery vehicles.

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The company now operates in 22 countries, with 100 brands; it recorded $10.7 billion in sales in 2015.

Starting with bread, the company branched into snacks, tortillas and other bakery products. The company is known for its mascot, a small white bear.

Bimbo expanded strongly into the United Sates, purchasing Mrs. Baird’s Bakeries in Texas in 1998. Bimbo Bakeries USA acquired the western U.S. baking business of George Weston Ltd., adding brands such as Oroweat, Entenmann’s, Thomas and Boboli.

In 2009, Grupo Bimbo purchased the remaining U.S. fresh baked-goods business of George Weston Ltd., acquiring brands such as Arnold, Brownberry, Freihofer’s and Stroehmann.

Servitje was preceded in death by his wife, Carmen Montull. The couple had eight children, 24 grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren.


UPDATES:

2:40 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on Servitje and his company.

This article was originally published at 9:40 a.m.


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