Joint administrators Deloitte is searching for a buyer for the previously family-owned business, which has annual sales of nearly £40M, rears about 20,000 pigs and employs 67 people.
No job losses have been announced at the Penrith-based business, which supplies major retailers, such as Sainsbury.
Deloitte partners Adrian Berry and Clare Boardman have been appointed to manage the business affairs of Dent Ltd.
Adrian Berry, partner in restructuring services at Deloitte, said: “We will liaise closely with the company’s customers and will work with management and the contract farmers to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare are maintained.
‘Continue to trade’
“The business will continue to trade and a sale process will be undertaken, and no redundancies are planned at this stage.”
Deloitte stressed that its appointment applied only to the Dent Ltd business and that North Lakes Foods Ltd and Dent Company – a haulage business – continued to trade as normal.
Meanwhile, the animal welfare pressure group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) described Dent Ltd as “a perfect example of pork producers who are committed to ensuring a high quality of life for their pigs”.
Its website praised its “outstanding achievements”, which led to the business receiving the Leadership in Pig Welfare award in 2011 at the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards hosted by CIWF.
100,000 finishing pigs
Dent Ltd manages about 100,000 finishing pigs, bred and reared in farms across the north west of England, according to the website. The business was said to operate several outdoor sow units, with weaned pigs housed in spacious straw-based barns.
“Both systems provide sows and pigs with plenty of space and freedom to root and perform their natural behaviours. Dent’s sows are kept in stable groups to ensure levels of aggression are kept to a minimum and piglets are not tail docked or teeth-clipped,” said CIWF.
CIWF’s Leadership in Pig Welfare award 2011 recognised producers and companies that demonstrated significant achievements with regard to the non-confinement of sows, and the elimination of tail docking or tooth clipping or grinding in meat pigs.
The leadership award was a precursor to the Good Pig Award launched in 2012. The next Good Pig Award will open for entries in January.