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Palmer & Harvey enters administration

Published:  29 November, 2017

Major UK wholesaler Palmer & Harvey (P&H) has gone into administration as hopes for buyout plans by private equity firm Carlyle falls through.

The demise of P&H - reported earlier this week to be on the verge of collapse amid a funding crisis, follows failed attempts by the business, which had been hit by difficult trading conditions in recent months, to restructure.

As a result the company, which had been supported financially by some of its customers ahead of the collapse, had been under cash flow pressure and unable to secure additional funding to support the business, said appointed administrator PwC.

The collapse of P&H, which was UK’s largest delivery wholesaler to the convenience market with a total of 90,000 customers and 14 regional distribution centres, has resulted in the immediate loss of 2,500 jobs (out of about 3,400) but, while devastating for employees, the demise also risks disrupting in supplies to stores and restaurants across the country in the middle of the crucial Christmas period.

The collapse was a “devastating blow” for anyone who had been involved in the business, said joint administrator Matthew Callaghan, adding the administration team would focus on working with employees, clients and suppliers to facilitate a smooth and effective wind-down or transfer of operations over the next few weeks.

PwC said in a statement: “The P&H Group has faced a challenging trading environment, and the need for significant restructuring has been recognised for some while. The company has insufficient cash resources to continue to trade beyond the short term and the directors have concluded that there is no longer any reasonable prospect of a sale. Therefore, the directors have had no choice but appoint administrators.

“The administrators are working closely with employees affected by the closure of the business to ensure they receive the support they need during this difficult time to assist with their claims for redundancy and other compensatory payments. Our priority is to ensure that all employees made redundant are assisted in processing their claims with immediate effect. We will be circulating correspondence to all staff as soon as possible which will outline the support available to complete redundancy payment forms.”