Black hole at Turners will leave creditors out of pocket

David and Linda Squirrell

The collapse of Turners Fine Foods has revealed a £10.9million shortfall in its accounts, leaving creditors scrambling to recover debts.

Silverstar Foods, the parent company of Turners, went into administration in July with the loss of 374 Kent-based jobs.

However, whilst the employee wage bill of £171,200 and holiday pay of £305,225 will be paid to the former members of staff, who are listed as preferential creditors, question marks hang over £152,584 in pension liabilities and PAYE areas of £269,487.

In a statement of liabilities by KPMG, which is overseeing the administration of the Goudhurst-based firm, the auditor said it expects to make £4.6million from the sale of the company’s assets, a little over half of their nominal book value of £8.6million.

The company, which also had sites in Tonbridge, Christchurch in Dorset and Earby in Lancashire, alongside the Camden Quarter restaurant in Tunbridge Wells, ran up debts of over £4million through its bank’s invoice financing facility.

It owes a further £3.6million to the venture capital business Agon Holdings Five which is co-owned by William de Laszlo, who is also Chief Executive of Agathos Management, a London private equity investor.

Agathos Management had invested ‘significant sums’ of money into the company in April, and had overseen a change of management by appointing Sean Cooper as Chairman.

However, despite their ‘best efforts’ they were unable to put the company, which was founded in 1995, on a firmer financial footing.

News of the collapse took many by surprise due to a strong set of results in 2015, which had seen turnover increase by almost 30 per cent to £41million compared to the previous year, while operating profits surged by almost a third to £1.5million.

KPMG declined to comment on the ongoing administration.

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