Steve Baluchi and Philip Armstrong of specialist business advisory firm FRP were appointed as Joint Administrators of Madestein (UK) Ltd and Fresh Willow Ltd on April 11, 2023.
The companies, which are based on the edge of Chichester, specialize in glasshouse-grown lettuce and herbs utilizing advanced hydroponic growing processes for the UK’s major food retailers, food service companies, and wholesale markets. They are the sole supplier of Curly Leaf Lettuce to a number of the UK’s largest supermarkets. The business occupies a freehold site with 26,829 square meters of glasshouses, adjoining storage, packing, and office accommodation, together with an extensive array of plants and machinery, which make this a highly productive enterprise.
With over 40 years’ of growing experience, the companies have established an excellent reputation in the market and a strong customer book. As a result of this success, the company invested substantial capital into promoting a proposal to develop a new glasshouse on a greenfield site, which, unfortunately, was not successful. This investment, combined with the well-documented challenges facing the UK’s food production sector, such as rising energy costs, inflationary pressures, and labor challenges, have left the companies unable to meet their financial obligations, and they have entered into administration.
The Joint Administrators are continuing to trade the companies and ensure continuity of supply to customers while they consider all options, including the sale of the businesses, as a going concern. They have instructed international real estate advisors, Savills, and specialist asset advisory company, SIA Group, to jointly handle the sale. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Ian Simpson at Savills or Stephen Readman at SIA Group.
Steve Baluchi said: “Madestein is a well-established business with an excellent customer book and a deservedly strong reputation in the market. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the management team, it has not been able to navigate through the challenges facing the food production sector at this time. Our focus is now on continuing to operate the businesses to fulfill customer orders while we seek to identify new owners for the property and business.”