Brexit and pandemic blamed for importer’s administration

One in three jobs have been lost at a food importing business in Hull despite a pre-pack administration which has saved 32 jobs.

Hider Food Imports had been struggling for some time with changes to import rules following Brexit affecting its financial performance even before the pandemic hit, which intensified its difficulties as demand fell.

It lost £1.15m in 2019, which doubled in 2020 to £2.3m. Sales have been in decline, from £25.5m three years ago to £14.0m last year.

Hider has traded for 55 years and is now a third-generation family-owned business. It imports, processes and packs nuts and dried fruit for retail and food service customers.

In May it sold its branded wholesale division to speciality food distributor Springvale Foods. It also agreed a sale-and-leaseback deal of its site at Dairycoates Industrial Estate.

But the company continued to be loss-making despite the turnaround attempts and its working capital position deteriorated.

Howard Smith and Rick Harrison from Interpath Advisory, the former KPMG restructuring business, were appointed joint administrators last Friday with 15 jobs lost.

A pre-pack deal was agreed with Modesto Food, a new corporate vehicle for three Hider Foods directors – managing director Duncan Hider, finance director Sue Page, and operations director Matthew Bradbury.

Administrator Howard Smith said: “We’re pleased to have been able to conclude this transaction which not only safeguards the majority of jobs, but which has allowed for the sale of the business without impacting the continuity of business operations.”

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