Directors strike deal to grow again as Porters Fuchsias

The directors of Porters are back growing in a "low-key" way after Porters Horticultural went into administration in November 2012. This followed Morrisons rejecting half a £3m bedding order, contributing to the Liverpool grower's decline.

Administrator Milner Boardman & Partners unsuccessfully marketed the assets of Porters Horticultural before agreeing a £355,000 deal with its directors for greenhouses, plant, machinery stock and vehicles, and then starting over again as Porters Fuchsias.

Unsecured creditors were owed £1.35m, including £761,000 to trade creditors and £119,000 to staff.

Director Alan Porter said: "We're trying to keep everything a lot less adventurous." He said his plans are to keep "straightforward and simple and supply a few garden centres and build that trade".

In 2011, Porters Horticultural posted turnover of £4.52m and pre-tax profit of £171,000. However, the administrators' report said: "The company had traded profitably and only began to experience problems from spring 2012, when prolonged adverse weather conditions badly affected the sale of bedding plants to a major supermarket.

"An initial order of circa £3m had been placed. However, due to the poor weather, the supermarket only confirmed half of the order. In order not to lose stock, the customer asked for the plants to be potted into tubs and hanging baskets, which incurred substantial additional costs.

"Despite this, the customer only took a small amount of the original order, the residue being sold at substantially reduced cost or disposed of."

The report added that another key customer ended its contract and demanded approximately £108,000 to be repaid in respect of accrued royalties.

Porter said: "You cannot win in that situation. It was a big volume and there was no plan B. No-one else could take even half of that volume so the only place for it was the skip."

Morrisons did not respond to requests for a comment.

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