Michael Lennon, Sarah Bell and Philip Dakin of Duff & Phelps Ltd were appointed joint administrators to the business on 23 July 2020. Commenting on the downturn in Winfresh UK’s fortunes, Lennon said: “In recent years the UK banana market has become highly competitive and that has impacted the company in terms of volume and pricing.
“As a result, the financial position of the company has become untenable and mounting cash flow pressures have resulted in the appointment of the joint administrators.”
Supporting business in the short-term
Lennon, Bell and Dakin are working with the company’s customers and suppliers to understand the short-term future of the business.
“It is too early to define what the long-term prospects are for the company, but we will explore all the options available,” said Lennon.
Established in 1994, Winfresh UK is one the UK's leading suppliers of bananas, including Fairtrade bananas, from thousands of smallholders in the Caribbean. It sources these bananas from its parent company Winfresh Ltd, the registered office for which is based at St Lucia in the Windward Islands.
Winfresh UK distributes bananas to domestic retailers and foodservice providers from its ripening facility in Dunmow, Essex.
Forced into administration
The past year has been tough on a number of food and drink firms, with many businesses being forced to enter administration.
In December last year, more than 1,400 jobs were saved at Bolton-based Sayers the Bakers, after it was rescued from administration.
Attempts to save Heathrow-based Adelie Foods failed after it entered administration in May, with 2,169 redundancies being made. Administrators Deloitte said the coronavirus pandemic played a major part in Adelie’s downfall.
Joint administrator Rob Harding said: “It is very unfortunate that we couldn’t enact the previously agreed sale and it is with sadness that we now have to announce such a significant number of redundancies.”
Meanwhile, more businesses are set to follow in the footsteps of Adelie Foods, should social distancing measures continue, a leading law firm has claimed.