Foulsham potato supplier Preva Produce goes out of business with £4m debts

Matt Howard from administrators Price Bailey at Preva Produce head office at Foulsham near Fakenham

Matt Howard from administrators Price Bailey at Preva Produce head office at Foulsham near Fakenham in Norfolk. Picture: PRICE BAILEY. - Credit: Archant

Businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk are among those poised to lose out on £4.67m after a potato supplier went under.

Administrators Price Bailey said Preva Produce, which was headquartered at Foulsham near Dereham, was placed into administration in December after a £1m shortfall in debtors was discovered on its balance sheet.

Business advisers Matt Howard and Stuart Morton were appointed to try to rescue the company but were unable to find a buyer and are now attempting to complete selected contracts to recover money for creditors.

The firm, established in 2001, supplied potatoes for chipping and crisping to household names such as Kettle Foods, Walkers, Asda and Morrisons.

Price Bailey's administrators said external factors had added to the difficulties facing the business.

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In the administrator's statement Mr Howard said: 'Following the discovery of a fraud and incorrect accounting practices/procedures, Price Bailey LLP were engaged by Preva Holdings and HSBC Bank in August 2016 to produce a limited scope procedures report and a negative assurance report to Preva Holdings. This work highlighted a shortfall in actual debtors of approximately £1m as at June 30 2016 as against expected results.

'It was also clear at this stage that the reported stock values were significantly higher than the actual amounts.'

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Mr Howard added in his statement that a cashflow shortage had added to the difficulties which led to the insolvency.

Price Bailey said a quarter of creditors are farmers from across the UK and East Anglia – with some owed more than £300,000 – although there are a number of services firms, including engineers and hauliers, which are also affected.

Three workers remain overseeing limited trading with 28 having been made redundant.

Preva ran a 29,000 sq ft packing facility at Snetterton, for which administrators said they will shortly complete a sale, while plant equipment is also set for auction.

Mr Howard said machinery assets would be sold, adding: 'The administrator's agents, Edward Wells Chartered Surveyors, have arranged a viewing day at the company's Foulsham, Little Snoring and Melton Constable sites on March 31.'

Are you affected by the insolvency? Email or call 01603772132.

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