Hot weather conditions
The heatwave has been problematic for many of us – causing delays on the trains, forcing us to drink more water and avoid staying out in the sun for too long, and even prompting a few wildfires of the type more commonly seen abroad. But for one firm in Somerset, Chard, it has meant the loss of everything.
In a statement from accountancy firm Mazars, the administration team – comprising Tim Ball and Mike Field – explained how the company had come to cease trading.
“A recent proposed sale of the company fell through and, as a result of the extremely warm summer weather, demand for eggs dropped dramatically, which has had a severe knock-on effect on the price of eggs the company could demand, resulting in cash flow difficulties and significant losses being incurred,” read the statement. As there was no further funding available to stop the gap, the directors had to come to the difficult decision of placing Blackdown Hills into administration.
This has result in an immediate and total loss of all food jobs at the site. There is apparently no way to allow the business to continue trading as it is, so the company will instead be sold off piecemeal, from their inventory to their equipment and their premises.
Family business failure
Mike Field said, “It is sad to see a business like Blackdown Hills Enterprises Ltd fail, as it is a family business that has successfully traded for many years and has become a known brand in its market. External factors have impacted this business which, in recent years, has developed a state-of-the-art egg grading, packing and distribution centre in the heart of Somerset.”
He also added, “The administrators are currently seeking a buyer for the business and assets and would welcome offers from any interested parties at this time.”
It has not been made clear what kind of redundancy packages are being offered to employees – if they will see any recompense at all. The number of production and manufacturing jobs lost has also not been numbered, though anyone who has been made redundant knows that it is an awful thing to happen even to one person. The loss of a steady job means a lot of uncertainty ahead, and the workers will be keen to find a new position as soon as possible.
Trade had been significantly dropping off for the egg producer over the summer months – much more than a simple dip in sales. The decision had to be made to enter administration in order to ensure that their position for creditors did not get any worse.
While House of Fraser may have been lucky in finding a buyer with Sports Direct, other businesses in the UK have not been as fortunate during this period. Blackdown Hills is not the only company to enter into administration in the food industry in recent months.
Frozen pastry and ready meals manufacturer Freshpack was just one more example. When they went into administration in June, there was still hope that the business might be able to continue – but as no buyer was able to be found, the firm had to close its doors for good. Another 60 employees had to be let go as a result of that closure.
The other side of this coin is that some businesses have flourished in the warm weather, which gives hope of new positions opening up for displaced workers.