Pooles Pies faces liquidation while debts addressed

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Country style foods

Court-Johnston (left) with Whelan before Pooles' fortunes began to seriously decline
Court-Johnston (left) with Whelan before Pooles' fortunes began to seriously decline
Pie manufacturer Pooles of Wigan faces liquidation as administrators at Milner Boardman & Partners work on paying off significant debts.

A report written by Gary Corbett, who, together with Darren Brookes, is joint administrator for Pooles, has estimated that these debts include a potential £1.75M legal claim against Pooles.

However, despite media reports regarding the claim, Brookes told FoodManufacture.co.uk he could not reveal further details for legal reasons.

In addition, Corbett’s report states that Pooles faces an unsecured creditors claim of £4.42M, plus administration costs.

Sales falling rapidly

The report indicates that Pooles’ sales for the year to May 31 2012 and the year before that were falling rapidly.

Owner Dave Whelan, chairman of Wigan Athletic football club, struck a deal for Neil Court-Johnston, then director of Peters Food Service and previously md of Hollands Pies, to take on the business for £3M in May 2012.

However, it appeared the deal was never officially completed, stated the report and the loss of a major contract later in the year proved a bitter blow to the business.

Despite Whelan pumping more cash into keeping it afloat, he finally placed it in administration on August 13 this year.

Sale to Country Style Foods completed

Brookes confirmed the sale of Pooles to Country Style Foods and associated businesses, which was announced last month, was completed earlier this month, for a total value of £2.35M, excluding stock. At this stage, it is unclear whether or not the Pooles name will survive the sale.

But Brookes explained: “The proposal is with Pooles to move from administration to liquidation in order to distribute funds to people owed cash by the business. Only a liquidator can agree on the distribution of those funds.”

Creditors, which include HM Revenue & Customs; Ulrick & Short; Oakfield Foods and Fourayes Farm, are expected to vote on the proposal to liquidate on October 3.

Related topics Bakery

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