‘Interest’ shown in northern abattoir

KPMG has received “expressions of interest” over the acquisition of Burnley-based abattoir, B Riley & Sons, which ceased trading in December 2015, resulting in 131 job losses. 

On Thursday 7 January, joint administrator and associate partner at KPMG Paul Flint confirmed that a number of approaches had so far been made regarding the purchase of the company. “We have received a number of expressions of interest in the business, but would encourage any further interested parties to come forward as soon as possible,” he said.

After Riley’s fell into administration on 16 December 2015, Paul Flint and David Standish of KPMG were appointed joint administrators of the business and have since been tasked with finding a buyer for the company and all its assets.  

Due to the early stage of discussions, a KPMG spokesman said they were “unable to say how many people have expressed an interest in the business”, but did concede: “Discussions are ongoing with interested parties.”

Prior to experiencing serious cash-flow difficulties, B Riley & Sons was one of the largest abattoirs in the north of England. Its meat processing businesses was geared up to supply lamb to the EU’s wholesale halal market and it also supplied beef.

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; a farm comprising three freehold dwellings; a butchers shop; and an additional 60 acres of agricultural land.

Of the 131 employees that were made redundant, Flint added: “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.”

An article published online by Cumbria’s daily newspaper News and Star on 29 December 2015 alleged that a creditors’ meeting for interested parties had been pencilled in for 4 February 2016. But this is not accurate. KPMG said they would write to all creditors setting out their proposals by 10 February and the document would “detail the background to the appointment, progress to date and if a creditors’ meeting will be held”.

News and Star also alleged that six of Cumbria’s meat marts were owed six-figure sums from B Riley & Sons. When pressed on this, another spokesman from Citypress – who provides communications services on behalf of KPMG – declined to comment. But the spokesman did say that an outline of the company’s debts was expected to be published no later than 10 February 2016.

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