News that one of the oldest agricultural firms in Lancashire has entered administration has been met with shock and dismay. Riley Brothers International Haulage Ltd, the most recent iteration of a company with a history stretching back more than a century, entered administration on the 18th of December 2015 with the loss of more than 130 jobs.
Councillor and former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle expressed ‘deep shock’ at the closure of Riley Brothers, he said:
“There has been a butcher’s shop next to The Glory for more than 110 years, this is an absolutely tragic case.
“Lots of people have been affected by this and I just hope that their situations can be resolved as soon as possible.
“Forty per cent or more of their business was for export and they were heavily involved in the halal meat trade.”
Joint Administrators Paul Flint and David Standish from the Manchester office of KPMG said the redundancies just before Christmas were the result of "significant cashflow problems" experienced by the firm over the past few months. Mr Flint states:
"We are assisting the employees through this difficult time with making claims to the Redundancy Payments Office for their wages and other associated redundancy claims."
Mr Flint also confirmed that the Dunnockshaw Farm premises, consisting of three freehold homes, a butchers shop, recently renovated abattoir facility and 60 acres of agricultural land is going to be sold off:
“The premises consist of an abattoir facility which was extended and fully renovated in October 2014 to enable throughput to increase to 12,000 sheep per week."
"We are now seeking a buyer for the business and its assets, and would urge any interested parties to contact the joint administrators as soon as possible."
Dr Phil Hadley, head of supply chain business development for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, said:
“The market has been very tough for some time, with the exchange rate, and to be fair a lot of our exports are usually directed towards France, where conditions have also been fairly difficult recently.”
This unfortunate situation demonstrates that even well established firms can fail if the flow of cash in to a business falters. Given the difficulties suppliers can face in chasing export debt our advice remains to take prompt export debt recovery action when faced with difficulties in securing payment from overseas debtors.
Image credit: "Cow with no body" by Stephen Zolneczko is licensed under CC BY 2.0