Country Style Foods buys Leamington Desserts assets?

By Graham Holter and Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

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Country Style Foods buys Leamington Desserts assets?
Country Style Foods has bought the residual assets of Leamington Desserts, FoodManufacture.co.uk understands.

Leamington Desserts went into administration last November but KPMG was unable to sell the business as a going concern. The frozen desserts firm, formerly owned by PoleStar Foods​ (now in administration) folded in January with the loss of more than 160 jobs.

Country Style Foods, the Leeds-based bakery product manufacturer with additional plants in Grimsby, Stockton, Peterlee and Flint, tied up a deal for the Leamington site on Friday morning, according to sources.

The deal is understood to include all facilities at the 5,740m2 site in Leamington Spa, although not the Leamington Desserts name.

KPMG pleased with result

Will Wright, joint administrator at KPMG, said the identity of the buyer, and the value of the deal, would be “a matter of public record within months”.

“We’re pleased with the result,”​ he said. “We traded the business in insolvency for some time and tried to sell it as a going concern, but we had to close the business in mid January and therefore we’ve been trying to dispose of the assets.”

KPMG closed the site in late January with the loss of more than 160 jobs after failing to sell it as a going concern.

Formerly owned by PoleStar Foods the business entered administration on November 30 after a cash injection from Privet Capital only secured the initial future of PoleStar’s other facility in Okehampton, although this also subsequently folded.

PoleStar meltdown

PoleStar was formed in December 2009 following the acquisition of Heinz’s UK frozen desserts business, with financial backing from Bank Leumi (UK).

Commercial director at PoleStar, Sue Garfitt, told FoodManufacture.co.uk last December that bosses “inherited a structure that was not fit for purpose”,​ making it hard to turn the loss-making business around in the months following the acquisition.

In early February 232 redundancies followed at the Okehampton site, and Devonshire Desserts (a new company setup by Country Style Foods) acquired its plant, machinery and freehold later that month; it is still unclear whether production will restart.

No-one at Country Style Foods was available for comment.

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