New management team focused on reviving former Frank Dale Foods

An experienced team picked from the East Anglian food production industry is giving a new lease of life to a struggling factory which was saved from liquidation.

The four strong senior team at the former Frank Dale Foods facility has laid out plans to turn around the party food and canapes producer by running it “as a frozen foods business should be run” – and has brought the loss-making firm, now rebranded Finedale Foods, back to profitability in just six months.

Managing director Ed Miles, who put forward a bid to buy the assets of the producer in Bunwell near Attleborough, has been joined by commercial manager Helen Lynn, formerly of Premier Foods, Bernard Matthew and the Tulip Group, factory manager Graham Buckley, also of Bernard Matthew and Linda McCartney products producer Hain Daniels and technical manager Robert Smith, formerly of Kettle Foods.

The board of Frank Dale Foods called in liquidators in February after losing more than £500,000 in the previous financial year. Mr Miles was involved with the company before its liquidation, looking at rescue models. “But the losses announced at the end of January were too great to be able to save the previous business, so I put together a plan of how we could turn it into a new company,” he said. “Purchasing the assets of a liquidated business and injecting them into a new business is not for the faint-hearted. It was the strength of the Frank Dale brand and the staff they had here which gave me the confidence to believe the business was worth saving.” He added: “I knew the business needed to be completely unpicked and sympathetically put back together.”

Mr Miles secured funding from co-investment fund New Anglia Capital for the purchase which was was supported by South North Council. In the first six months under its new management revenue has reached 90% of the previous board’s forecast and the team hopes to secure as much of the forecast £4m full-year turnover as possible.

However, around £1.15m is still owed to more than 100 creditors. Andrew McTear of McTear Williams & Wood which managed the liquidation said payment of 20p in the pound was expected by Christmas. He added: “This is a great example of the insolvency process being used to rescue a business to provide a fresh start and future return for creditors.”

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