A family-run Liverpool city region farming business has lost its year-long battle for survival and has collapsed into administration with the loss of 35 jobs. Tony McDonough reports
A family farming and haulage business that has traded for 45 years has collapsed into administration with the loss of 35 jobs.
T Wilson & Sons (Farmers) Ltd, has appointed Nicola Baker of Rushtons Insolvency following a year-long battle to survive the financial effects of the pandemic. The business is based at Maggots Nook Farm, Rainford, in St Helens.
In May the directors sold its profitable haulage division to one of its customers, Preston-based Len Wright Salads. It had a fleet of 25 trucks and 40 temperature-controlled trailers. That deal safeguarded 25 jobs.
However, the struggling farming business, which had been hit by the pandemic, has been unable to continue trading. It covered 1,800 acres across Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire. Customers for its fresh vegetables and salads included Aldi, Booths, Hello Fresh and a number of food service providers across the UK.
Rushtons was appointed by the directors as the administrator on June 14. The directors were unable to secure a sustainable future for the farming side of the second generation family business in its existing format.
Nicola Baker of Rushtons said: “The last few years have seen an unprecedented squeeze on many farms and aspects of food producing businesses. And, sadly, despite the strongly performing specialist haulage business, it was simply not possible for the company to keep trading as it was in the current economic climate.”
Len Wright Salads has appointed former haulage director Rob Wilson to continue to run the haulage business under its ownership.
Ms Baker added: “The efforts of the Wilson family and a key customer of the haulage business have saved a significant proportion of the jobs involved. The new business continues to provide haulage services for customers following its sale.
“However, the directors had a responsibility to cease trading and protect the creditors of the unviable farming side of the business.”
Eddisons Commercial have been appointed to auction the remaining assets of the business. These include a significant volume of farm machinery and food processing equipment. This will be sold by online auction in the coming weeks.