Food business purchase saves 150 jobs

Abbotsfield Road in St Helens. Picture from Google Earth

Abbotsfield Road in St Helens. Picture from Google Earth

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St Helens’ economy was given a major boost and around 150 jobs were secured after a troubled food packaging business was bought out of administration.

Kapak Foods, based on Abbotsfield Road, was snapped up by new firm Foodpack Limited immediately after being placed in administration.

The company had faced severe difficulties despite sales of around £17m and its gloomy position had led it to appoint administrators from FRP Advisory.

The sale, for an undisclosed sum, is backed by North West investor and adviser Seneca Partners, which along with Secure Trust Bank has pumped £7.5m into the company.

The firm will remain at its current site in St Helens and experienced industry professionals Alistair Marsden and Anthony Hitchen have been given seats on the Foodpack board after joining as senior directors.

Kapak’s difficulties were particularly surprising as it only moved to its 80,000 sq ft food production unit in 2013.

Among the jobs which have been saved afre specialised roles in product development, food and packaging technology and food production.

Joint administrator Ben Woolrych said: “We’re delighted to have secured the future of this key North West business, preserving the 150 jobs and providing continuity of supply for its loyal customer base. We wish Foodpack Limited and everyone involved in it every success for the future.”

Tim Murphy and Richard Manley, from Seneca Partners, added: “We’ve introduced a team in Alistair and Anthony who are respected throughout the food industry and who can drive the business forward, building on its undoubted strengths.

“We have every confidence in the potential to develop Foodpack in the sector. We managed to complete this transaction in a very short timescale thanks to the support of Secure Trust Bank and our legal team at Napthens.”

Mr Marsden said he was excited about Foodpack’s future at its state-of-the-art headquarters and was looking forward to working with staff and customers.