Tonbridge based Southern Salads Ltd operated from 2 sites, employed around 260 people, with facilities producing 50 tonnes of salad a day, supplying supermarkets, restaurants and travel chains.
The company had invested heavily in its production facilities in 2014, but the expected increase in turnover did not happen and ultimately, the pound’s devaluation since EU referendum vote had made the business unsustainable.
“SIA’s commercial approach and understanding of the administrators’ accountability to the various stakeholders was essential to ensuring the best result was achieved in difficult circumstances.”
SIA Group worked closely with all stakeholders of Southern Salads to undertake the complex asset valuation; provide detailed exit strategy planning and implementation; assist with retention of title claimants and repatriation of claimed goods; conduct an online auction and accompanying global marketing campaign to maximise realisations; manage the health and safety requirements in relation to the complex asset removal process and instruct suitably qualified and audited machinery removers to complete the dismantling process and load equipment to purchaser’s transport.
This highly complex case required intense management by our suitably qualified and experienced team. The nature of the perishable stock meant speed was of the essence from the outset and SIA was able to respond quickly, managing an orderly clean down and mothballing of the site.
Whilst interested parties were sought for the fully equipped and operational site, the team simultaneously assisted with multiple retention of title claimants and the timely sale and disposal of residual stock.
No In-Situ buyers were willing to make an offer for the existing business. SIA therefore utilised its global capabilities to conduct an online auction with over 600 lots, attracting international interest and resulting in 300 parties registering to bid from 15 countries.
Phil Harris, Senior Manager, FRP Advisory LLP, said:
“This case involved a significant amount of complicated heavy plant and machinery that was subject to approximately 29 separate finance agreements. It was no small task to match the individual components to each agreement. SIA’s commercial approach and understanding of the administrators’ accountability to the various stakeholders was essential to ensuring the best result was achieved in difficult circumstances.”
Hamish Deas, Recoveries Manager, Global Transaction Banking, SME, Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance, said:
“As our assets were of a specialist nature and formed part of a production line we were pleased to appoint SIA Group as our agent to manage the negotiations and sale of our assets. Throughout the process SIA Group kept us informed of all developments and secured a better than anticipated return on completion of the sale.”