Whiterigg Alpines 'likely to be sold as a going concern'

The administrators for Lancashire-based Whiterigg Alpines, which went bust two weeks ago, are positive that the business will sell as a going concern after several parties have come forward to express an interest.

KPMG Manchester associate partner Paul Flint said: "There has been quite a lot of interest in the alpine business, from people already in the trade and from others looking to invest or acquire a distressed business."

Flint stressed that normal trade was continuing: "The first week of trading in administration has been really positive. Customer support has been fantastic and the nursery has been continuing to send out plants to all its customers."

Whiterigg Alpines is the largest alpine grower in the UK, supplying more than 200 garden centres around the country, including Wyevale. The business has a turnover of circa £4.5m.

The 91 members of staff at the Chorley nursery are continuing to work under the control of joint administrators Paul Flint and Brian Green while a buyer is sought for the business and assets.

Flint was not able to disclose the reason why Whiterigg Alpines went into administration.

Ian Pretty, partner at Milton Keynes-based Acorn (MK) Nurseries, which has an alpine section, said: "There aren't many good wholesale alpine growers left in the country. It's a shock and a bit sad."

Owner of Northumberland-based retail alpine nursery Edrom Nurseries Terry Hunt said: "It's not that surprising. We've experienced a slow decline in the interest in alpine plants over the past 10 years. We now sell woodland plants more than anything else."

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