Administrators take over at Hansens and Valera

Administrators were today continuing their work at the offices of Hansens Kitchen Equipment and Valera after a week of turmoil for two of the catering equipment market’s most well-known companies.

News of both organisations’ respective difficulties has sent shockwaves around the industry this week, with creditors, customers and partners now waiting to learn the outcome of the administrators’ efforts.

Administrators from Baker Tilley arrived at Valera’s head office in Thurrock and showroom in Preston earlier this week where staff were informed of their fate. It is thought that as many as 30 employees were affected by the news.

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Pratap Gadhvi, managing director of Valera, confirmed the company’s plight and said he wished to thank those that have offered messages of support.

“Unfortunately Valera has gone into administration and we are co-operating fully with the administrator at the moment,” he said. “I have to say that I owe so much gratitude to my staff, my distributor partners, customers and creditors. I have been touched by the messages of support that I have received from everyone in the last two days. It has been 20 years of hard work and I hope that with everyone’s best wishes and blessings we will be able to pull through this and move forward.”

A spokesperson for Baker Tilley confirmed to Catering Insight that it was handling the Valera case but declined to comment further at this stage.

Valera’s troubles come just a year after it secured a £2.5m funding package from Lloyds TSB which was designed to put the company on a strong financial footing. The package included a £1.6m cash flow facility and a £400,000 loan plus International Trade facilities intended to boost liquidity and provide day-to-day support.

The package aimed to bridge the gap between the stock that Valera needed to buy from overseas customers and meeting other payment commitments, before payment is received from its own customers.

Valera started out as a specialist commercial microwave oven supplier but expanded over the years by adding a wide range of refrigeration and display equipment to its portfolio. It was aiming to generate sales of £10m this year.

Meanwhile, Valera’s circumstances have been shared by Hansens Kitchen Equipment this week after administrators were called into the London-based distributor’s Chelsea office.

Managing director Peter Hansen confirmed last night that KPMG had now taken over the running of the business and that he was assisting them with their work.

It is understood that five members of staff have been retained by the administrators, but 15 employees were made redundant.

KPMG’s administrators could not be reached for comment on the situation as this article went to publication.

Hansens is one of the most established kitchen houses in the industry, trading as a family-owned business since 1946. As well as its involvement in commercial kitchen projects, it operates a showroom selling chef supplies on the Fulham Road.

Both Hansens and Valera are affiliated with CEDA, however at the time of publication the association had not yet given its reaction to the news.

Valera was one of CEDA’s platinum partners, but this morning its logo had been removed from CEDA’s website.

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