Spanish canned-foods firm Conservas Fernandez has folded with the loss of 311 jobs at its main factory in Calasparra, Murcia, a company official told just-food today (24 November).

"We have tried to restructure the company but our final efforts have become increasingly difficult in the economic and financial crisis," he said, adding that Fernandez will liquidate immediately.

Fernandez made canned artichoke and peppers under the "La Diosa" brand. Spanish private equity firm Inveralia's Halcon Foods division sold it to an unnamed investor group in 2004.

Government officials slammed the move with some calling it a "fraudulent bankruptcy". They have asked the company to return millions in government subsidies so they can be granted to any potential buyers for the business.

Fernandez's bankruptcy stems from "terrible management" and its decision to outsource artichoke production to Peru "which was a total failure", Calasparra's mayor Jesus Navarro told local press.