Companies ‘unlikely’ to receive pay-out from Bleikers Smoke House, say administrators
Last updated Jul 5, 2022
Bleiker's Smokehouse was previously based at Glasshouses Mill
Bleiker's Smokehouse was previously based at Glasshouses Mill.

Administrators dealing with the collapse of a food company founded in the Harrogate district have said it is “unlikely” its 108 unsecured creditors will receive any of the money they are owed.

Bleikers Smoke House Ltd fell into administration in April, when it was also revealed that the company was being investigated for possible food fraud.

Now, administrator FRP Advisory Ltd has revealed a growth in the price of raw materials and difficulty in finding temporary staff at Christmas put “pressure” on the company. The latest report said:

“In late March 2022, the company’s biggest customer (approx 50% of sales) notified the company of concerns regarding the provenance of goods supplied and withdrew its products from sale in its stores, ceasing all orders.

“Despite an ongoing dialogue and a number of audits being undertaken by the customer and its agents, no resolution could be reached.

“A confidential settlement was subsequently reached with the customer on April 26, 2022, which ended the relationship.

“The sudden loss of this customer’s business, combined with the already weakened financial position meant the company was no longer viable.”

The latest update reveals a sale of the company, founded in 1993 at Glasshouses Mill, was attempted in April but a buyer was not found. After the company entered administration, there were two parties interested in buying it, but they pulled out when news of the Food Standards Agency’s investigation emerged.

However, a sale to Sixto Strategic Sourcing LLC for a total price of £300,000 has since been agreed, and could see production restarted from Bleikers’ most recent home at Leeming Bar.

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As well as negotiating the sale, administrators reported they had secured the return of the company’s trademark and branding rights from a company owned by the children of Bleikers’ directors, Charles and Annabel Andrew.

The rights had been transferred within the last 12 months but were returned in order to facilitate a sale of the business, the report said.

Of the company’s 86 members of staff, just three have been retained on a self-employed basis to assist with specialist knowledge. A food hygiene specialist has been appointed to liaise with the environmental health office.

Administrators said the prospect of any of the company’s 108 outstanding creditors receiving any payment is “unlikely”.

Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it continues to investigate Bleikers Smoke House over allegations of food fraud.