Updated: 5th February 2020
A total of 300 staff members at the S&A Foods company based in Derby have been made redundant after learning that their employer was to enter administration.
The company halted production at its main Midlands facility last week after it was left unable to function as normal.
S&A has been a significant local employer in Derby in recent decades, with its Asian-style ready meals being sold in supermarkets around the UK.
However, the recent loss of an important contract with Asda, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, apparently had a devastating impact on the company’s financial position and its prospects.
As well as having to shed several hundred jobs, it is understood that S&A Foods is not currently in a position to pay a number of it suppliers.
Perween Warsi, who leads the company, said in a statement: “After 28 years, we deeply regret that Asda has decided to move the supply of chilled, ethnic ready meals to another business.
“We have worked desperately hard to try and save the business in a very short space of time, but, having explored many different options and rescue packages, we have no alternative but to appointment administrators.”
David Jeffrey, a regional representative of the Unite union, described news of the company entering administration as a “body blow” for its employees and their families, with concerns also raised about the potential impact on the local economy in Derby.
“We understand that the contract with Asda has caused severe cash flow problems which resulted in the workers being sent home on Monday,” Jeffrey said.
Appointed administrators from Deloitte have said that they will retain a “very small number” of staff at S&A’s facilities with a view to winding down its operations.
Ms Warsi has become a well-known and highly-respected business figure in the Midlands, establishing a reputation for having helped make Asian-style ready meals into mainstream food products across Britain.
“My over-riding priority now is to do all I can to ensure that everyone affected has as much support as possible,” she said after confirming that her company had called in administrators. Our extensive office network comprises 78 offices across the UK with a partner-led service offering immediate director advice and support.