Food ingredients group announces departure of chief financial officer

The chief financial officer at struggling Liverpool baking ingredients firm Real Good Food is to leave the company at the end of this month, as part of a mutual agreement.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange today, the firm said that, “with the recent streamlining of the group to two semi-autonomous business units, it has mutually agreed with Harveen Rai, chief financial officer, that she will step down from the board and leave the company at the end of March”.

Today’s announcement confirmed that Hugh Cawley, chief executive and a chartered accountant, will assume the plc duties of the chief financial officer on an interim basis, supported by the group’s financial controller, Nikki Lee, until a new group chief financial officer is appointed.

It said this process will commence shortly and the board will update shareholders when appropriate.

Real Good Food chairman Pat Ridgwell, said: “On behalf of the board, we would like to express our thanks to Harveen for her contribution to the business over the last 18 months.

“She has played a key role in the turnaround, refinancing and reshaping of the group.

“We wish her well for all of her future endeavours.”

In September last year Mr Cawley announced annual losses of £25.167m, compared with a £6.236m loss the previous year. He said: “Last year was one which we will look back on with little pride or satisfaction.”

In January this year the group announced interim losses, falling revenues, and a disposal.

During the six months to September 30, revenues fell from £31.9m in 2017, to £30.4m.

Pre-tax losses widened from £3.4m to £9.1m.

The disposal was the R&W Scott division, to its management team, for £3.95m.

In total, three disposals were completed since the year end, of Garretts, Haydens and R&W Scott, raising a total of £17.8m, of which £10.1m was received in cash, £7.2m was the assumption of third-party debt, and £500,000 deferred.

Last month the business confirmed the sale of RGF Patisserie, trading as Chantilly Patisserie, to its management team in a deal worth £200,000 in cash.

It said in a statement that it was now free to focus its full attention and resources on growing its two profitable, continuing businesses, which together comprise the majority of the group, cake decoration (Renshaw and Rainbow Dust) and ingredients (Brighter Foods).