One of the UK’s largest salad producers Hedon Salads has gone into administration and stopped trading.
The company has sites totalling about 24ha (59 acres) at Burstwick and Newport in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and sells to major supermarkets.
It grows crops such as augerbines, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in greenhouses.
Ninos Koumettou, director at London corporate recovery and licensed insolvency specialist Alexander Lawson Jacob, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “I was appointed administrator as the company had liabilities that couldn’t be paid.
“The company was due to stop trading in any case because its business is seasonal.
“It employs about 150 people who would have been made redundant next week because they are seasonal workers and would not have been due to come back until April.”
He revealed that the company did not own the sites it was trading from. “I presume the owners of the sites will continue the business themselves in some shape or form and the employees will be re-employed when the work recommences,” said Koumettou.
“There is lots of money to collect and there will be good dividend paid to creditors, but there is nothing to sell on because we do not own the site.”
He said it was too early to know in detail why the business had failed. But he understood it was caused by general liabilities to the Inland Revenue, and he had been told that very high fuel costs had played a part.
The company hit the headlines earlier this month when it was ordered to pay more than £16,000 after a prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive.
The case was brought after a worker at the Burstwick site fell more than 4m (13ft) through a glass roof, breaking his wrist and suffering a head wound that required 20 staples.
Hull Magistrates Court was told a team of workers were sent up onto the roof to clean the gutters of 20 greenhouses at the site, and were told to walk heel-to-toe along the gutters while relying on a long-handled brush to steady themselves against the glazing bars.
The employee was injured when his foot went through the glass and he fell through the roof. Hedon Salads were fined £12,500, with £3.921 costs after admitting a breach of the Work at Heights Regulations 2005.
The administrator said it was unlikely the cost of the case had been a contributory factor in the company’s failure, adding: “I don’t know whether that was the last straw but the liabilities are a lot larger than £16,000. They are hundreds of thousands of pounds.”