Freshpack to close after low margins deter buyers

Frozen pies and snacks manufacturer Freshpack is to close following an unsuccessful search for a buyer.

The Cheshire-based business, which was established in 1952 and supplied pies, ready meals and snack products, entered administration in June after “period of difficult trading”, but continued to operate while a buyer was sought.

Ten staff were laid off at the time the business entered administration, and the remaining workforce of around 60 people will now also be made redundant.

Although talks had taken place with a number of interested parties, administrators Dunham Dean Advisory said the low margins in the industry had deterred potential buyers.

“While the business initially attracted strong interest, none of them felt able to conclude a deal,” said Dunham Dean Advisory partner Matt Dunham. “After the only remaining buyer walked away this week, there was no alternative but to cease trading.”

“The convenience food sector is the subject of intense competition, particularly at the value end of the market, and the fall in sterling has forced up costs,” he added. “The margins that Freshpack could achieve were simply not sufficient to make it attractive to a buyer.”

Dunham thanked staff for their support during a difficult period.

In the latest full accounts filed at Companies House, for the year to 30 June 2017, Freshpack directors said they had been focused on replacing volumes following the loss of a major contract. Turnover had fallen from £10.4m in 2016 to £8.4m, with the business making a £487,000 operating loss.

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