Bernard Matthews creditors informed they won’t be paid

More than 900 creditors have been left out of pocket following the acquisition of turkey producer Bernard Matthews by Boparan Private Office from Rutland Partners in a pre-pack administration. 

The creditors were informed by Deloitte that there was no money to settle unsecured debt of £23 million (m), apart from a £600,000 prescribed pot with a requirement for pre-pack administration.

In a letter sent to creditors, it said: “There will be no funds available to make a distribution to the unsecured creditors of the companies, excluding the prescribed part, therefore a creditors’ meeting will not be convened.”

One of the creditors, Anglia Farmers, is owed over £10,000. Chief executive Clarke Willis told Meat Trades Journal that the focus of the acquisition had been on the 2,000 jobs saved, when in reality a lot of businesses would be losing out. “My concern is that this pre-package deal was put together and that Rutland has walked away, leaving the public to pick up the pension and 900 creditors owed an awful lot of money.”

Two creditors, Tesco Stores and Annyalla Chicks, are both owed more than £1m each.

“It’s not good news for the industry. The £23m owed across 900 creditors works out at an average of just over £25,000 per creditor. Even Tesco will miss that £1m,” said Willis.

He added that the situation might put Boparan in an awkward position moving forward with the business. “I don’t blame Boparan for the deal. I think they genuinely would have wanted some of the funds they put into Rutland to go to creditors as it puts them into a difficult position for getting ongoing contracts.”

In a statement, Rutland Partners said it had “invested significant funds into the Bernard Matthews business over the last three years”.

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