Two years after McCain Foods sold the Sara Lee business in Australia and New Zealand, the frozen desserts supplier has gone into administration.
FTI Consulting was appointed administrator on 17 October, with the process to be overseen by Vaughan Strawbridge, Kathryn Evans and Joseph Hansell. Sara Lee will continue to operate as FTI seeks a “restructuring and sale”.
Sara Lee, based in Lisarow, New South Wales, has had a presence in Australia since 1971, supplying frozen cheesecakes, pies, crumbles and ice cream under a trademark licensing agreement. The business also has rights to market its products in New Zealand, South-east Asia and the Middle East, according to FTI.
Strawbridge said in a statement: “We are working with Sara Lee’s management team and staff to continue operations while we secure the future of the business. We are immediately commencing a process to sell or restructure the business and continue its long history of manufacturing in Australia.
“We expect a lot of interest in the business and will work with those parties and stakeholders to achieve an outcome as soon as possible to secure the ongoing business and provide clarity to its loyal and committed staff and customers.”
Strawbridge added Sara Lee employs “some” 200 staff in Australia.
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Canada-headquartered frozen potato products manufacturer McCain Foods sold the Sara Lee Australia and New Zealand operations in 2021 to Christchurch-based investor, South Island Office.
McCain Foods had originally acquired the business in 2012 from what was then Hillshire Brands Co. before the latter was bought by US-based meat major Tyson Foods in 2014. Tyson Foods then sold the Sara Lee assets in the US to investor Kohlberg & Company in 2018, which remains the brand owner in North America.
South Island Office’s website does not display a contact phone number or email address to obtain a comment on the Sara Lee proceedings.