Canterbury Foods finally folds
of three factories as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) steps in to take
control of the ailing business.
This follows four years of poor performance for the AIM-listed company, which has seen profits plummet as demand for its sausages, beefburgers and food ingredients has declined steadily.
It was hit by a £2.7 million sales drop in the first half of last year, reflecting the industry-wide poor performance of the European frozen foods sector also affecting Unilever and Heinz.
In the second half Canterbury Foods cut costs and attempted to boost productivity, but to no avail.
PWC is now overseeing the sale of the company's manufacturing plants in Kent and South Wales to Medway Foods Limited.
Ian Green, PWC joint administrator, said: "The company has been suffering cash flow difficulties for some months, and its management has been attempting to reduce external debt and restructure the business to preserve its ongoing viability.
"Unfortunately, despite the recent sale of the company's meat products division, it was not possible to complete a restructuring and administrators were appointed on 3 January 2006."
A 20 per cent rise in meat prices, which Canterbury Foods said it was unable to pass on to buyers of its burgers and sausages, led to a series of losses last year.
The company cited depressed meat product sales and margins that set back the company's efforts to become profitable.
The group had 400 customers across the UK and manufactured about 1,000 products for a target market worth £850m.