The assets of W Potter & Sons (Poultry) Limited have been sold in a pre-pack administration deal for £830,000, after the company became insolvent due to a costly legal battle and cashflow problems.
Potters Poultry Limited was the buyer. Siblings Justin Potter and Olivia Potter are directors of both the company in administration and the purchaser.
Carolynn Best and Martin Buttriss of Begbies Traynor were appointed administrators in June for the Warwickshire-based company, which supplied pullets from its various rearing farms and also traded in poultry equipment from its warehouse in Rugby.
According to documents sent to creditors from the administrators, the company received a claim of approximately £1.6 million against it in August 2018 from a customer who claimed the equipment supplied was defective. The equipment was installed in November 2014, Olivia Potter told PB.
After spending £250,000 in legal fees to date defending the claim, the company was advised costs were likely to rise to more than an additional £350,000. The coronavirus outbreak then led to significant number of cancellations for orders of equipment and minimal new orders coming through, resulting in cashflow difficulties.
“It was an extremely difficult decision, however, to safeguard jobs and to address immediate business challenges, we had to take the difficult decision to place one of our businesses into liquidation earlier this month,” said Olivia Potter. “Despite the short-term economic impact of these challenges, particularly COVID-19, our long-range plan for Potters Poultry is to continue to invest in future markets, both in the UK and internationally.”
The business was put up for sale on 7 May, and a significant amount of interest was received according to the administrators. Advanced conversations took place with five separate interested parties. The majority of the interest was in relation to the pullet rearing side of the business with only one party interested in the equipment side of the business.
The administrators said the decision to make a sale to a connected party was in order to realise the best value for the assets for the benefit of the company’s creditors, who were owed more than £1.7 million when administrators were called in.
Carolynn Best, partner at Begbies Traynor in Leicester, said: “The purchasers have reviewed and updated their sales and marketing strategies and are also considering new product ranges to complement the existing portfolio to allow the business to be more competitive in the marketplace. We look forward to watching their future progress.”
“Activity previously undertaken through W.Potter & Sons (Poultry) will now resume through Potters Poultry Ltd which will ensure we can continue to secure continued employment for our people and support our poultry industry customers and suppliers. We are very proud of the relationships, reputation and expertise built through our 50-year history working within the poultry industry and we are committed to maintaining this as we look to our future,” Olivia Potter added.