Wensleydale Dairy Products Limited produces award-winning British cheeses from its two sites in Yorkshire and employs more the 200 staff. However, the business, which was established in 1992, was carrying unsustainable levels of debt; with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization calculating approximately £1.6 million at year end. Relationships between the shareholders, directors and the bank had broken down, and the quality of operational and financial management was poor. FRP’s Transition appointed interims to turnaround the business, with a view to a potential sale.
FRP Transition introduced a Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO) to the company, as well as a turnaround Financial Director (FD), and developed a business recovery plan focused on reducing debt levels. Through careful stakeholder management (and with the aim of aligning stakeholder interests) we were able to demonstrate that performance was stronger than expected. The team agreed short-term banking support to run a twin-track process, completing a trade sale with identified buyers while also delivering a business plan and restructuring debt with the bank and shareholders.
FRP’s Transition team utilised their network of professional interims and arranged the successful placement of the CRO and FD, who were selected from a choice of candidates by the company’s lender, stakeholders and Chairman. The appointed CRO and FD provided the business with the specialist approach required to oversee systems and reporting, ensuring the successful sale of Wensleydale’s business and assets to Saputo Dairy Crest Limited (SDUK) for £23 million, realising between £7-8 million for shareholders and repaying the bank in full.
FRP were also engaged by the company to manage the liquidation process post-sale to SDUK, and therefore assisted in consideration of the terms of the deal and the impact upon the future liquidation. The introduction of the interim CRO and FD made it possible to complete the trade sale, relieving pressure from the relationship between stakeholders.
The price paid for Wensleydale Dairy Products by Saputo Dairy Crest.