Corporate recovery specialist Begbies Traynor was appointed in early January to sell the firm’s assets, and the administrator says several potential buyers are interested in restarting production at the site and reappointing former staff.
In its heyday Rossa employed around 30 staff, although latterly numbers fell to 19, all of whom were made redundant just before Christmas when production stopped.
Several interested parties
Originally founded in 1896, the firm produced traditional Italian-style ice cream and yoghurts from its Meynell Road premises, principally for wholesale customers.
Joint administrator Ravi Sembi told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We still have three interested parties looking at the assets, since this is an asset-only sale. But they are all interested in the possibility of taking on the site lease and restarting production.”
Given that Rossa ceased trading shortly before Christmas,Sembi added that the business would not be sold as a going concern, but said the site was in good shape for any buyer to restart production.
“The machinery has been really well maintained and the premises are in good condition,” said Sembi. “It’s a ready-made operation for the right buyer to step in and get things going again without too much further investment.”
“We hope there will be an opportunity for some of the employees who were made redundant prior to our employment to be re-employed, should a suitable purchaser be found.”
Supply costs led to closure
Sembi said that, despite a reasonable turnover, discussions with Rossa’s former directors revealed their fears about “predicted price increases from suppliers that the firm couldn’t pass on to customers” .
“The directors also admitted to us that they got their customer mix a little wrong. As a Leicester-based firm it was supplying products to the Asian food market, but its prices on some contracts were too low,” Sembi said.
“It's a shame that well-known and established businesses are failing due to factors outside their control.”
Third-generation family firm Rossa was established by Italian immigrant Raphael Boccarossa; in later years Rossa was run by his son Domenico and his grandsons Martin and Malcolm Rossa.
Originally called R. Rossa & Sons, the firm was renamed Rossa Dairy Products when it was bought out of administration in November 2007.