Southern Salads, the Kent based grower and supplier of salad products to the supermarkets, restaurant and travel chains, has gone into administration, citing the decrease in the pounds value since last year’s EU referendum vote as the main reason for its demise.
The company has ceased trading with immediate effect and most of the 260 staff have been made redundant.
Ian Vickers and Chris Stevens, partners at FRP Advisory, the business advisory firm, have been appointed as joint administrators to the company. They have begun to realise the company’s assets and have requested any interested parties wishing to consider purchasing the business to make early contact. The immediate priority of the joint administrators is to assist all those made redundant with timely claims to the Redundancy Payments Service, according to Ian Vickers.
Southern Salads invested heavily in 2014 to expand its production capability. This put pressure on working capital and the expected increase in turnover never materialised according to Mr Vickers. The development included a new distribution centre, creating a high care facility for deli salads and the installation of new salad lines with optical sorters for leafy bag salads.
“Southern Salads, a family run Kent-based business, had traded for around 30 years, and managed over the years to deal with the increasingly competitive pricing pressures from supermarkets and other retail chains faced by all food supply businesses. Despite successfully producing over 50 tonnes of salad per day for its customers, the company faced an unprecedented pressure on cash flow in the immediate aftermath of last summer’s EU referendum vote. The sudden decline in sterling was not foreseen by the company, leaving the business grappling with an immediate fall of between 10% and 20% in its purchasing power for overseas-grown salads, required for the winter and early Spring UK market, which in turn put a severe strain on cash-flow,” said Mr Vickers.