Sunday 21 April 2019

Cribbin swoops for UK butcher Crawshaw

Entrepreneur Tom Cribbin
Entrepreneur Tom Cribbin

Ravender Sembhy

A substantial part of UK butchers chain Crawshaw has been sold to Irish meat entrepreneur - and former Westmeath senior men's Gaelic football manager - Tom Cribbin for £1.4m (€1.57m), securing 240 jobs.

Crawshaw fell into administration in October after it failed to secure emergency funding.

Yesterday, the group said that its remaining 19 stores - and a Rotherham production and distribution facility - have been sold to a company called Loughanure, which is controlled by Mr Cribbin.

Through Cribbin Family Butchers, Mr Cribbin previously operated a chain of butchers stores in the Republic of Ireland, and sold a company called Gabbotts Farm to Crawshaw in 2015.

The rescue comes after Crawshaw closed 35 stores and one distribution centre in November, resulting in the loss of 350 jobs.

The collapse of the company came after several years of financial losses.

According to its latest set of results for the six months to July 29, the group posted revenue of £21.6m and a pre-tax loss of £1.7m.

Food mogul Ranjit Boparan held a near 30pc stake in the business and his 2 Sisters Food Group also supplies Crawshaw.

The 'Chicken King' - so-called because of 2 Sisters' large-scale involvement in the poultry trade - was also an adviser to the board.

Following the sale, administrators EY are set to assess how the proceeds of the sale are to be divvied up between creditors.

Shares in AIM-listed Crawshaw remain suspended and its stock will be cancelled following the deal.

The administrators are continuing to look to complete the sale of some of the closed stores and related assets.

"The joint administrators consider that the offer from Loughanure represents the best outcome for the creditors, employees and shareholders of the group," they said.

"Following the sale, the joint administrators will be assessing the dividend prospects for the unsecured creditors of the group and further details will be issued to the creditors of each company and the shareholders of the group in due course."

Press Association with additional reporting by Gavin McLoughlin

Irish Independent

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