Medway takes time to settle down business

13 January, 2006
Page 5 
A three-month review is under way at new company, Medway Foods, the business formed from a £7m management buyout (MBO) of four of Canterbury Foods’ pastry and food ingredients plants.
Medway was set up after Canterbury went into administration on January 3, having failed to agree new terms for its £15m debt with its main backer, Barclays Bank.Medway is headed by ex-Canterbury Foods chief executive Paul Ainsworth, who told British Baker he would spend the next three months “settling the business down”. He commented: “We are now well-financed by GE Commercial Finance and I am sure the business will be cash-generative going forward. We will be doing it slowly; we are not ambitious to grow too quickly. Having effectively saved 200 jobs, I want to take a long look and ensure the future business plan keeps everyone employed.”Ranges will remain the same while the review takes place, he added, with a new head office set up in Whitstable, Kent.AIM-listed Canterbury had a “difficult start to the year”, after financial backers unexpec- tedly called in the administrators, he said. “Getting the letter in my hand, saying the bank had withdrawn its backing, was quite a shock. We had contingency plans in place, including an MBO deal, since the end of November, and this seemed the best option.” The MBO covers three plants in the Isle of Sheppey, Whistable and Bridgend, and saves 200 jobs.Administrator PriceWater-houseCoopers is still looking for a buyer for Canterbury Foods’ remaining cooked meats business, in Yate, near Bristol.



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