A consortium led by former Asda chief executive Andy Clarke has bought online grocer Farmison out of administration and is aiming to rebuild the business.

Andy Clarke, executive chair of Farmison

Andy Clarke led a deal to buy Farmison out of administration

Clarke, who will be executive chair, teamed up with entrepreneurs Gareth Whittle, Christian Barton and Kieron Barton – best known for their success in building the Rekorderlig cider brand in the UK – to mount a rescue of Farmison.

Whittle was also a board member of Farmison before it collapsed into administration earlier this month, with the loss of 75 jobs. 

Farmison, headquarted in Ripon, North Yorkshire, hit the wall after failing to put sufficient volumes though its state-of-the-art facility, which meant it was unable to generate sufficient return on investment.

The immediate priority of Clarke and the consortium is to stabilise the business and then implement a growth strategy.

Farmison was founded by entrepreneur John Pallagi and specialises in sustainable, rare-breed, dry aged, hand-cut meat sourced locally.

It sold through upscale retailers such as Harrods and Selfridges as well as direct to consumer, its primary revenue channel.

Clarke said: “While unable to navigate the economic difficulties of the last 12 months, John’s ‘eat better meat’ mission that sits at the heart of Farmison’s business is one we believe has significant potential for growth.

“Producers across the region appreciated Farmison’s commitment to the best producers who could provide the highest-quality meat to customers.

“That’s why I’m very excited about Farmison’s prospects. We have an opportunity to scale this business and further develop both its direct-to-consumer and wholesale plans, building on the ethos and values of what Farmison stands for.

“There is much to do to get the business back on its feet and trading again – not least re-engaging with Farmison’s important network of farmers across the region and re-employing colleagues.

“In the short term, our goal is to bring financial stability to the business and we’re committed to re-energising Farmison’s long-term vision so it can take advantage of the growth opportunities that are undoubtedly available.”

FRP Advisory joint administrator Arvindar Jit Singh said: “There had been significant interest in purchasing the business and assets of Farmison, and a number of serious offers had been put forward in recent weeks, but the proposal from the consortium provides the best opportunity of both re-establishing the business and maximising returns to creditors.”

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