Tuesday, October 20

Jobs to go before Christmas

- November 29, 2017

One of Sussex’s largest employers has gone into administration, leaving three hundred and fifty workers at risk of redundancy just weeks before Christmas.

Palmer & Harvey, which has its headquarters in Hove, went into administration yesterday (Monday) despite attempts to secure a lifeline for the wholesaler.

The company is the UK’s biggest supplier of cigarettes and provides alcohol, groceries and frozen food to 90,000 stores – including Tesco.

Around 3,400 people are employed by the company, of which 2,500 have now been made redundant. Around 350 of these are employed in the Hove office on Davigdor Road.

The remaining workers have been left with the task of bringing the business to an orderly close.

PwC, who have been appointed as the administrators, said all jobs still remain at risk.

It is not yet known how many of the staff in Hove have already been made redundant.

A statement from the firm said: “challenging trading conditions” had put pressure on its cash flow and efforts to revive the struggling business, failed to take hold.

The 90-year-old firm entered takeover discussions with the Carlyle Group last month, but the US private equity fund’s offer of investment in exchange for a controlling stake did not proceed.

Joint administrator and PwC partner, Matthew Callaghan, said: “This is a devastating blow for everyone involved in the business.

“The administration team will 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.”

Mr Callaghan added: “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.”

PwC said staff pay for November had been secured and they were now seeking buyers for the group’s subsidiary businesses, including P&H Direct Van Sales, P&H Sweetdirect and P&H Snacksdirect.

By Clare Calder

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