Simms & Woods goes into administration with the loss of more than 100 jobs

More than 100 people have lost their jobs after the collapse of fresh produce firm Simms & Woods.

The 50-year-old company, one of the largest of its kind in the Vale of Evesham, went into administration last Tuesday.

The Pershore-based grower, packer and importer underwent a multi-million pound management buyout last year, but the rescue attempt failed.

Will Wright, a director at KPMG who is leading the administrator team, said: "Unfortunately we have had no choice but to close the business and make the majority of the 150 workforce redundant.

"We are working hard to find a buyer for the residual assets of the business. A small number of staff are remaining on site in the coming days to assist with the closure."

KPMG added that Simms & Woods owned 6ha of land and also leased land from other growers - supplying vegetables to UK supermarkets. It was known for growing and packing alliums, including onions, leeks and spring onions.

One source told Grower that the firm, which three years ago invested in a £3m state-of-the-art packhouse, had struggled to balance the books after it lowered its prices below those of its competitors, but continued to pay high prices for its rented land.

Ray Foster-Morison, NFU group secretary at Pershore, said: "We are very sorry to hear that Simms & Woods has been unable to resolve its trading position and hope its growers are able to continue to supply whoever takes over the contracts with the supermarkets."

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