Dairy future remains uncertain

THE long-term future of a dairy which plunged into administration earlier this year remains in the balance after a meeting of creditors.

Creditors met in Darlington on Tuesday to discuss the future of Rock Farm Dairy, in Wheatley Hill, which fell into administration in March.

The position for creditors of the dairy, including direct farm suppliers, remains dependant on the recovery of the company’s debtors which include substantial debts from a small number of the company’s previous customers.

The sale of the company’s assets at Wheatley Hill also remains to be concluded.

Stephen Oldfield, who is joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “It is clear that Rock Farm Dairy’s financial difficulties were, in large part, caused by a few specific customers not paying their bills over several months prior to my appointment.

“Creditors have been informed that while many of the company’s former customers have settled their bills since our appointment, a small number of customers are still not paying their pre-appointment debts for unknown reasons at present.

“The tolling agreement between the company and UKDS remains in place, ensuring around 50 of the company’s original workforce continues to be employed for the time being. The tolling agreement is not due to end until the end of May and it can be extended by mutual agreement.

“We hope to conclude a sale of the company’s assets over the next few weeks. Our objective remains to seek a sale as a going concern, where assets remain in the same location therefore preserving higher value.

“The creditors meeting was well attended, concerns were openly aired and addressed, a Creditors Committee was formed and the Administrators Proposals were approved.

“The administrators will be in constant dialogue with the creditors committee going forward.”