Receivers in but Clarke rescue hopes linger on
The receivers are, however, optimistic that they can keep the company going while they agree a restructuring. That could involve a cash injection from shareholders and creditors, or finding a new investor who would take over the management of the group.
That would carry echoes of the origins of the company two years ago, when Henry Clarke and his son Robert took control of Yelverton Investments, effectively a shell company, with the aim of revitalising the ice-cream market, These ambitions took off last year when it acquired the Lyons Maid ice-cream business from Allied Lyons.
Mr Clarke, who made his name with the Klondike bar, America's biggest-selling novelty ice cream, aimed to cover all parts of the market from children's lollies to luxury ice-cream. But commissioning of a new state-of-the-art production facility was delayed, while a massive advertising campaign had already begun, which left it unable to meet demand. By the time the plant was commissioned, the best of the summer was over and the group was faced with severe cash-flow problems.
Ipe Jacob, one of the the joint receivers from Robson Rhodes, said yesterday that the group's debts were pounds 20m to pounds 25m. He added that there had been approaches from 'all sorts of people, on all sorts of bases' since the company's difficulties had emerged.
He has made 100 people at the Greenford manufacturing site redundant, including Mr Clarke - although he remains a director. Mr Jacob does not expect more job losses among the 460 remaining staff.
Clarke's shares were suspended at 8p at the beginning of the month while it tried to agree a restructuring with its bankers, National Westminster. But these proved too complicated and the group was finally forced to ask it to appoint a receiver to avoid the danger of trading while insolvent.
Mr Clarke and his family are the largest shareholders, with 25 per cent between them. Next largest is Hillsdown Holdings, with 13.83 per cent and all the preference shares.
Hillsdown said it would not be interested in buying the company, and the pounds 7.6m book value of the holding will be charged as an extraordinary item in its 1992 accounts.
Allied Lyons is also owed between pounds 3.5m and pounds 4m deferred consideration.
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...