BDO LLP business restructuring partners, Malcolm Cohen and David Gilbert, were appointed joint administrators of Ashbury Chocolates Limited on 9 February.
BDO said in a statement that the private label chocolate sector had lost market share to brands in recent years and said Ashbury had also suffered from rising raw material prices
Private label chocolate market share in the UK went from 5.2% of the overall UK chocolate market in 2007 to 4.7% in 2012, according to Euromonitor International. The world market for private label chocolate also declined from 4.4% to 4.1% over the same period.
Corby-based Ashbury Chocolates produces private label chocolate for supermarkets in the UK, Europe and Australia and also sells its own brands Needler’s and Blue Bird. Around 70% of the company’s business comes from the UK and its customers include many major UK supermarkets.
Belgian firm Baronie’s UK subsidiary acquired Ashbury for an undisclosed sum, marking its second acquisition in six months after snapping up Belgian chocolatier Duc d’O in September 2014.
Malcolm Cohen, BDO business restructuring partner, said: "We are pleased to have concluded the sale of the business and assets of the Group, preserving 236 jobs. The sale was the best option to secure the future of the business, enabling it to move forward confidently and on a secure financial footing.”