E&Y called in at Snackhouse

The suspension, made at the request of the Lancashire company, followed ‘continued difficult trading conditions and severe cashflow problems’, according to an LSE announcement.

Shares were suspended at a value of just 8.5p, only a tenth of their value of 18 months ago, and followed two profit warnings last October and May this year.

Hunter Kelly and Trevor Birch of Ernst & Young have been appointed as joint administrative receivers with immediate effect.

Kelly said despite ‘some cashflow difficulties’, the business remained ‘an attractive proposition’. He said there were ‘a number of parties interested in the business and discussions with them would take place over the next few days.

Snackhouse, one of the UK’s largest snack food manufacturers, employs around 470 people and comprises its core brand Bensons Crisps in Kirkham, Country Harvest Natural Foods in Shropshire and K Snack Foods in London.

In September, the board of Snackhouse announced it was conducting a full strategic review of each of its businesses and confirmed that it was in discussion with its bankers Royal Bank of Scotland after trading conditions worsened.

In the six months to May this year, the company recorded a pre-tax loss of Pounds 2m after making a profit of Pounds 3.5m in 1999.



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