Catering equipment manufacturer bought from administration

A commercial catering equipment business established in 1957 is being revived following the acquisition of its business and assets from administration, resulting in the re-employment of close to half of its 50-strong workforce.

Hopkins Catering Equipment, based in Pudsey, will now be run by Hopkins Frying Ranges Limited in a deal secured by its Administrators James Sleight and Oliver Collinge of PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co.

Hopkins Frying Ranges Limited is run by Ferhat Akkaya, a fast-food entrepreneur and former customer of Hopkins, and Matthew Hopkins, a member of the Hopkins family which founded and ran the original business.

Administrator Oliver Collinge said “Hopkins is a historic Yorkshire business with first-class design and fabrication capabilities. The business was mothballed in mid-November as its cash position became untenable and since then we have been seeking a purchaser for this highly-respected brand and its assets. This is a particularly positive outcome as it provides for many of the Company’s workforce to be re-employed and we wish the new business every success in the future.”

Akkaya, of RGM, added: “We were delighted to conclude this deal and rescue a much-admired business and we look forward to continuing to serve Hopkins customers for many years to come. We have taken on around 20 of the business’s former employees and are still recruiting, with a particular interest in highly skilled sheet metal workers and fabricators.”

Doug Robertson of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Jason Hall of Hilco Global Valuation Services acted for the Joint Administrators on the sale.

In November, it was announced that the manufacturing firm had entered administration due to the harsh trading conditions and a loss of customer confidence.

Hopkins Catering, which has been run by the Hopkins family for 61 years, closed its doors. At the time, managing director Victoria Hopkins, the third generation of the family business having worked in the industry for around 20 years, said that they had been looking to rescue the business.

Talking to TheBusinessDesk.com, Hopkins said at the time that the firm had been operating in extremely tough trading conditions. She said: “We deal with the food service industry and retail; the high street is seeing shops and restaurants closing down all the time. The industry is distressed and customer margins are being squeezed.

“We supply the fish and chip industry and there has been a terrible potato crop this year, so their margins are just being squeezed all the time.”

She added that with external pressures including Brexit, the firm’s customers were “holding off making purchasing decisions.”

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