AN ICE cream retailer and wholesaler based near Gaydon has been bought out of administration saving 38 jobs.
Joe Delucci’s Gelato has been purchased by a group of investors headed up by the firm’s former operations manager Alexandra Beer.
The Lighthorne firm supplies ice cream to various supermarkets, and also has a number of retail parlours in shopping malls in the UK.
Craig Povey and Richard Toone, partners at insolvency and restructuring firm CVR Global, were appointed administrators on January 8 after the company’s original efforts to agree a Company Voluntary Administration in November failed when it did not gain the support of a sufficient number of major creditors.
Mr Povey said: “Following a period of intense marketing, we are delighted to have found a buyer for the business, which has saved a significant number of jobs.
“Joe Delucci’s Gelato has proven it has all of the makings of a profitable business with the relationships it has with big retailers and presence in some of the UK’s largest shopping malls, it was only until the Brexit vote hit that the business experienced a downturn in profitability due to sterling weakening against the Euro.
“This resulted in costs from overseas suppliers increasing significantly, with the business being unable to pass said increases onto its customer base. This also sat against the backdrop of a challenging economic climate on the UK High Street with individuals taking a more ‘cautious’ approach to discretionary spending in the period following the Brexit vote.
“The company also suffered following changes to Local Authority rates policies, which resulted in units that were not previously subject to business rates falling chargeable, with such charges being backdated for up to three years.”
Ms Beer said the firm was now looking to the future.
She added: “Brexit and changes on the high street caused fundamental changes in the business, which it was hoped would be addressed by a restructuring and turnaround plan which was supported by a significant number of creditors, including HMRC the largest creditor and the company’s bankers.
“However, a small number of trade and other creditors disappointingly rejected the proposal, forcing the company through an administration.
“That said, we are excited for the business and it is now on the right footing to grow and deliver what we always believed it was capable of.”