More than 250 jobs have been saved after a Bridgwater catering services company went into administration.
Pro Serv Corporate Limited, based in Bristol Road, Bridgwater, went into administration on August 23 and appointed Ian Walker and Chris Norman, of Begbies Traynor’s Exeter office, as joint administrators.
Immediately after their appointment, the company’s principal business was sold by way of a pre-pack sale to Taylor Shaw Limited, preserving some 260 jobs. The deal is expected to complete before the end of the month.
Pro Serv was formed in 2004 and provided catering services to both schools and corporate clients throughout the South West. Mr Walker said: “Unfortunately, the company began to experience financial difficulties over the last 12 months as a result of increased competition within the industry. This led to reduced operating margins which, coupled with significant losses at certain of its sites, meant that cash flow problems started to occur and this eventually resulted in the appointment of administrators.”
The purchaser, Taylor Shaw, is a part of the Waterfall Group, a national company with offices in Warrington, Durham, Sheffield and Milton Keynes that has been providing catering services to the education, care and B&I sectors for over 20 years.
Mr Walker added: “We are delighted to have found such a reputable buyer for most of the business of Pro Serv, which should ensure the continuation of many of its 30 catering contracts and the preservation of employment for around 260 staff.”
The acquisition was dealt with very speedily to ensure the preservation of value within the business and Jim Lovett, group managing director of Taylor Shaw, commented: “We have been seeking to expand within the South West for some time and when we became aware that Pro Serv was in trouble, we registered our interest to enter into negotiations.”
Jim Lovett added: “While a national company with contracts and suppliers country-wide, the South West was the only region in which Taylor Shaw did not have a strong foothold. The acquisition of Pro Serv has changed that.
“Staff will make the transition with immediate effect and we will enter into discussion with existing suppliers and clients to answer any questions they may have, hopefully continuing and strengthening all existing relationships.”
Ian joined Begbies in 2000 from Pannell Kerr Forster after practicing insolvency for the previous 20 years with Big Four firms. A member of R3 and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (from which he also takes his Insolvency Licence, he is currently a member of the ICAEW Investigation Committee. Over the years, Ian has dealt with all types of insolvency and at least three recessions. Currently, his practice based in Exeter and Plymouth covers the whole of Devon & Cornwall (including the Scilly Isles), together with as much of Somerset and Dorset as he can get away with! He deals with all types of personal and corporate insolvency and also concentrates on pre- and post-lending review work for all the major lending institutions.