Posted: 26/11/2018

Struggling Bodnant Welsh Food saved from the brink after finding buyer

Bodnant Welsh Food Centre
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre’s most recent financial results showed losses of more than £1m and falling turnover

The stricken Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in North Wales looks to have been saved after a buyer was found with the business just days from potentially going into administration.

The centre – which houses a farm shop, café, restaurant and a cookery school – announced on 29th October that it would continue to trade “in an orderly wind down” for one month, as it looked to sell up. All employees of the Conwy Valley business, opened in 2012, were told their jobs could be at risk and a fire sale of stock was announced.

Local businessman Richard Reynolds announced his intention to buy the business – which has been haemorrhaging cash and had also been propped up by its current directors – at the end of last month, beating a deadline set for the sale.

The insolvency department at firm Smith Cooper, which was handling an “accelerated” sales process on Bodnant’s behalf, told FFD that if a buyer was not found by 30th November, then the business could have been placed in administration.

Richard Reynolds said he was on the verge of purchasing Bodnant, which would see it continue to trade as it had been.

He added: “I strongly believe that the excellent location, award-winning produce and strong reputation will enable the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre to continue to thrive and grow for many years to come.”

The latest accounts available show that Bodnant, registered with Companies House as Furnace Farm Ltd, had £12m worth of creditors in the year ending 31st January 2017.

In the same financial year, the company made a full-year pre-tax loss of £1.5m. Turnover fell from £3.1m in 2016 to £2.3m over the same period.

The latest accounts made up to 31st January this year should have been posted by 31st October but were marked as “overdue” at Companies House.

Current owner Michael McLaren gave Reynolds his blessing and said he was thrilled that the centre would survive.

“I greatly regret that the directors of Furnace Farm Ltd. could not get the business to trade profitably, despite huge investment of time and money over many years,” said McLaren. “But we remain very proud of the original concept behind the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, together with the economic benefits the Food Centre brought to the area, and the numerous awards we won.”

Following the announcement of the sale, Bodnant continued its stock clearance, which included up to 50% off items in the farm shop.

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