Hilliers of Plymouth has been forced into administration after a fire destroyed its Devon-based pie factory. Most of the 350-strong workforce, which supplied pies for Asda’s own-label Smartprice range, has been made redundant.
Derek Howell, Edward Klempka and Nick Reed of PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed joint administrators of Readco 300 (trading as Hilliers of Plymouth).
Howell said: “Commercially this is a tragic situation but fortunately nobody was injured in the fire. However the fire damage is significant and the business cannot operate in the short term.
“As a result, we have had to make the majority of the workforce redundant with immediate effect. We have retained a small number of staff to assist us whilst we explore the options for the company.”
The blaze started when residue on a conveyor belt caught alight as it went through a sausage roll machine, revealed a joint investigation between the police and fire services.
The fire began just before 9pm on July 15 and was not extinguished until the early hours of the following morning. Fire fighters were still inspecting the factory weeks later as it continued to smoke.
Asda has secured two new pie and pastry suppliers, but said that it was still in contact with Hilliers.