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May 27, 2020

UK food-to-go firm Adelie Foods appoints administrators

Adelie Foods, the UK food-to-go supplier, has announced a major change in the future of the business, with Covid-19 a key factor in its decision.

By Dean Best

Adelie Foods, the UK food-to-go supplier, has appointed administrators after Covid-19 hammered orders at the sandwich and bagel maker, which employs more than 2,000 people.

Deloitte confirmed today (27 May) it had been brought in after Adelie had tried to find a buyer. In a statement, the administrators said it was “not possible to conclude a sale outside of administration protection”. The administrators said they will “investigate sale options with a view to concluding a transaction as soon as possible”.

Adelie, based in Heathrow in west London, has three manufacturing sites and five distribution facilities in the UK. The company supplies branded and own-label food-to-go products to retail clients and contract caterers.

Rob Harding, restructuring partner at Deloitte and Adelie’s joint administrator, said: “The current pandemic is having a devastating effect on consumer-facing businesses and suppliers into them, such as Adelie. The impact of Covid-19 on the company’s order book resulted in a material funding requirement and, as a result, we have been working hard with Adelie’s management to try and secure a buyer to ensure the right longer-term future for the business. We were hopeful that a sale agreed with a trade buyer would obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to enable it to proceed to completion. However, unfortunately this has not been possible. Therefore we will now, very quickly, explore the options available to us.”

Adelie employs around 2,200 people. Deloitte said no “immediate redundancies” are being made but added that would be reviewed “subject to how the sale process progresses over the coming days”.

Earlier this month, Sky News reported Adelie had approached UK peers Bakkavor and Greencore about possible interest in buying the business. At the time, Bakkavor and Greencore declined to comment.

In an interview last week after Greencore published its first-half financial results, Patrick Coveney, the Ireland-based group’s CEO, refused to be drawn on the claims. “I’ve no direct comment on a particular target like that,” Coveney told just-food.

Adelie has gone through a number of owners in the last decade. The company was acquired by UK asset management company Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) from US private-equity firm H.I.G. Capital in 2016.

That transaction came just eighteen months after H.I.G, backed by debt provided by ICG, bought Adelie from India Hospitality Corp. (IHC), the Indian leisure company. IHC had owned Adelie for three years after buying the business from UK private-equity firm Duke Street Capital.

The most recent set of accounts publicly available for Adelie are for the 12 months to 30 September 2018, published by Companies House in July 2019. Turnover was up 10% year-on-year at GBP248.5m (US$306.3m).

Adelie made a loss during the year of GBP15.4m, down from a loss of GBP26.8m 12 months earlier. At an EBITDA level, the company generated a loss of just under GBP3m, an improvement of GBP8.3m the year before.

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