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 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...