Food factory assets to be auctioned off

ANY last hopes of a North Tyneside food factory being sold as a going concern have been dashed.

Administrators called in by Longbenton Foods in March have abandoned their search for a new owner, and the plant’s assets are now being auctioned off online.

The Longbenton ready meals manufacturer failed to find a buyer because of the vast size of its plant, according to Joe McLean, of administrator Grant Thornton’s Newcastle branch.

The Benton Lane factory’s 150 staff lost their jobs in February.

Workers were initially sent home and told to remain on standby until the firm’s cashflow problems were resolved, but they were made redundant soon afterwards.

Mr McLean said: “There was simply no buyer.

“No one was interested enough to make an offer, although I did have one derisory offer.”

Previous offers to buy the plant’s machinery were turned down in the hope of selling the whole operation as a going concern and saving as many jobs as possible.

The plant’s assets are now up for sale via two separate online auctions by Dutch industrial auctioneer Troostwijk and West Yorkshire-based surveyor Walker Singleton.

The production line used to make its most famous product, Findus crispy pancakes, has already been sold.

Once its food production equipment has been sold, the search will continue for a buyer for the 33,000 sq ft factory unit, reopened in February 2010 after being devastated by fire just over a year previously.

Viewings by prospective buyers were due to be held today and tomorrow, between 10am and 4pm.

The deadline for bids is a week tomorrow.

For further details, go to www.walkersingleton.co.uk or www.troostwijkauctions.com/uk