In a statement posted on stock exchange listing AIM, the company said its board had placed it in administration after failing to raise sufficient cash to address “key issues” and necessary restructuring.
The chain was by no means the only high street operator to be struggling, according to Martin Lane, managing editor of credit broker money.co.uk.
“All 600 employees of Crawshaw are in for an anxious period as they wait to learn if they'll suffer the same fate as other high street retailers this year. With the rise of competition from budget supermarkets offering cheap meat options it’s hard for butchers to survive.
“It is undoubtedly distressing news for employees of Crawshaw and their families especially, because their fates are now being kept in limbo.
“Unfortunately, Crawshaw is just one in a long list of high street retailers which are struggling. Anyone who works in the industry who may be worried about the future of their jobs should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
In its AIM announcement, Crawshaw Group stated: “As previously announced on 26 October 2018, the board was considering a number of remedial actions, including raising additional funding through an equity capital release in order to address the key issues it had identified with the company.
“Since then, the board has been in discussions with existing investors and prospective investors. Unfortunately, these discussions have not been successful in raising sufficient capital to address those key issues. The company does not have sufficient cash resources to effect the required restructuring of the business.
To protect shareholders
“In the light of the above and the operational and financial uncertainty which the company now faces, in order to protect both shareholders and creditors, the board has taken the decision to place the company into administration and intends to appoint administrators shortly with the purpose of seeking buyers for the group’s business and assets on a going concern basis.”
Crawshaw’s board announced it had requested a suspension of trading in its shares on AIM with effect from 7.30am today (31 October).
Further announcements would be made in due course, it added.
In April 2017, Ranjit Boparan, president of 2 Sisters Food Group's parent company Boparan Holdings, announced plans to invest £5.1m in Crawshaw Group as part of a strategic supply chain alliance. The deal would see 2 Sisters Food Group supply the retailer's stores with chicken.
Under the terms of the agreement, Boparan would acquire 29.9% of Crawshaw, with an option to buy a further 20.1% stake in the business later.
Crawshaw runs 42 high street butcher’s shops and 12 factory outlets.