The plant and machinery belonging to Welsh firm Loseley Dairy Ice Cream has been sold to an undisclosed US company, FoodManufacture.co.uk has learnt.
Property and asset manager Edward Symmons said that, acting on behalf of administrator Portland Business and Financial Solutions, it had sold Loseley’s remaining assets – including its plant in Cwmbran – for more than £750,000.
Beechdean Farmhouse Dairy Ice Cream bought the firm’s brands, intellectual property and stock last month for around £450,000, after Loseley (which employed 83 staff) entered administration in April.
Edward Symmonds associate Glen Maxwell said: “We were instructed to use our extensive network of international contacts to secure a sale of the specialist food processing machinery from the company’s facility in South Wales, and were pleased to achieve more than three quarters of a million pounds for these assets.”
Loseley made ice cream under the Loseley, Granelli, Yorkshire Dales and Thayers brands, and also produces own-label ice cream for major supermarkets including Morrissons and Iceland.
Wiltshire firm Hill Station struck a £5.6m reverse takeover deal to acquire Loseley in the 2006, becoming the UK's third-largest ice cream business as a result; it subsequently adopted the Loseley name and consolidated production at Cwmbran.
However, more recently Loseley struggled to compete against larger rivals given widespread promotional activity within the retail sector, and in the 18 months to March 31 2010 recorded a £4.7m loss on a £8.7m turnover.
Soaring raw material costs have also beset smaller players in the sector, with the Ice Cream Alliance reporting that skimmed milk powder prices were up from £1,800/t in January to £2,900/t in April, while cocoa powder was up from £1,250/t to £3,600/t.
But FoodManufacture.co.uk understands that Loseley’s administration was ultimately the consequence of venture capitalist backer Acuity Capital withdrawing funding, after a partnership break up.
Beechdean md Andrew Howard told FoodManufacture.co.uk in May that the firm was planning a ‘super premium’ retail product to rival Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s, after its purchase of the Loseley brands.
Echoing the words of former Loseley md Neil Burchell, he said: “We want to reposition the Loseley brand back as a super-premium product, moving it away from the very difficult and competitive own-label sector that it had gone into in recent years.”