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October 3, 2022

UK pork-pie firm Vale of Mowbray collapses under market challenges

Administrators cite challenges around ingredients and energy costs, and labour shortages for the firm's demise.

By Simon Harvey

Pork-pie maker Vale of Mowbray has gone into administration after succumbing to the challenges around rising costs and UK labour shortages.

Advisory firm FRP is seeking a buyer for the family-owned business in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, having been appointed as joint administrators on 28 September, when 171 staff were made redundant. A further 48 have been retained during the winding-up process.

“The business has experienced significant financial challenges in recent years due to rising raw material input prices, increasing energy costs and sector-wide recruitment challenges,” FRP noted in a statement. “A marketing process was conducted to attract fresh investment into the business but, without any viable offers and without the resources to continue trading, the directors have appointed administrators and closed the business.”

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As part of the administration process, FRP partner Martyn Pullin said Vale of Mowbray’s two freehold factories in Leeming Bar will be sold, along with machinery and intellectual property rights.

“The Vale of Mowbray was a proud family business with a loved brand that has been synonymous with pork pies for generations. But the increasingly difficult trading conditions being experienced by many energy and labour-intensive manufacturing businesses have ultimately led to the business’ closure,” Pullin added.

“We are urgently calling on any interested parties to come forward. In the meantime, we are preparing to wind up the business’ operations and move towards an asset sale in line with our statutory obligations. We are on-site and supporting staff, through what is an extremely challenging time, as we support claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.”

Vale of Mowbray was a pork-pie supplier to major UK supermarkets. The latest accounts filed with Companies House in London are for the 12 months to 31 March 2021. Turnover increased 4.8% to GBP24.2m (US$27m).

Operating profit went from a GBP1.1m loss in 2020 to a positive GBP77,315. However, profit before tax was in the red at GBP49,022, compared to a GBP1.3m loss in the corresponding period.

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