Receivers in but Clarke rescue hopes linger on

Clarke Foods, the ice-cream company that aimed to put the oomph back into Zoom lollies, yesterday saw its ambitions melt as it asked its bankers to appoint a receiver.

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test