Rescue deal secures future for pork producer

A historic Black Country pork producer and wholesaler will remain in business after administrators secured a rescue deal for part of its operations. 

F.A.Gill, more commonly known as Gills Sausages, collapsed into administration after a reduction in sales on the abattoir side of the business, which has now ceased to trade. 

65 jobs have been saved as the meat production division has been acquired by Gill Meat Products – a connected company. 

Mike Dillon and Rochelle Schofield of Leonard Curtis were appointed administrators of the Wolverhampton business which has been operating for over 80 years – suffering significant losses in the prior period. 

The fate of Gills’ abattoir staff is currently unknown.

Last April, the family business was acquired by HLD Electric, which moved the registered office for the business to Winfield, Leicester.

In its last accounts before it was acquired, Gills employed 211 staff and reported a turnover of £39.4m in 2021, which was down from £42.7m in 2020. Gills also posted a loss of £172k which was retained by its reserves.

Directors said the firm was still feeling the effects of the pandemic in September 2021, especially from staff absences earlier in the year. The additional costs of working with changing restrictions, the challenging trading conditions as well the introduction of Brexit-related regulations created a “low pig price and a serious backlog of heavy fatty pigs waiting on farms”.

It said that regulators “are still acting as if unaware of the real challenges presented by Covid and Brexit.

“We have seen the first hand impacts of Covid shutdowns in terms of reduced demand and sale, but also in personal suffering of colleagues battling with the toxic legacies of closed schools and lockdowns.

“We recall that Ronald Reagan said the most terrifying words in the English language in a crisis in the USA were – “I’m from the Government and I am here to help”. The same sentiment can be echoed most days in the UK and that is not a great accolade and they never deliver the promised help.”