Keelings closes down B-Prepared

Keelings has closed B-Prepared, the company it bought last July, because of poor trade.

"Because of ongoing losses we had no alternative but to cease trading," said a representative for the group. "But we intend to continue reviewing the market potential for this service.

"The concept of providing prepared fresh fruit and vegetables to the retail and food-service trade still has more development potential in the UK."

Keelings bought B-Prepared for an undisclosed sum after the Bomford Group went into administration in June. This was caused by a new packhouse building in Warwickshire running over budget.

Keelings agreed to buy B-Prepared in Brandon, Suffolk, from administrator Deloitte in late July 2007. UK managing director William Keeling hailed the deal as a "fantastic opportunity".

Simon Ball was kept on to continue managing the company and its 140 staff. The firm had a £10m turnover from marketing and distributing fresh produce in the UK.

Keelings said it was exploring "alternative redeployment opportunities" within the group. It was committed to looking at maximising the facilities at Brandon to "cost-effectively match market expectations".

Keelings started producing fruits and salads in the 1930s and now employs around 1,500 people in 10 businesses including Janic (Import/Export) and Keelings Multiples. Its turnover in 2004 was almost £200m.

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