The deal to acquisition Hopkins Catering Equipment’s business and assets from administration has now been completed.
As Catering Insight previously reported, Matt Hopkins, the brother of former Hopkins Catering Equipment MD, Victoria Hopkins, is reviving the name as a manufacturer of fish and chip shop equipment, with the new outfit called Hopkins Frying Ranges.
The new company is also being backed by a longstanding Hopkins customer, Ferhat Akkaya, director of the Fishy Delishy small chain of fish and chip shops in Cheshunt and Potters Bar.
Close to half of the Pudsey-based former distributor’s 50-strong workforce are being re-employed at the new venture, in an agreement secured by its administrators, James Sleight and Oliver Collinge, of PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co.
Collinge said: “Hopkins is a historic Yorkshire business with first-class design and fabrication capabilities. The business was mothballed in mid-November as its cash position became untenable and since then we have been seeking a purchaser for this highly-respected brand and its assets.
“This is a particularly positive outcome as it provides for many of the company’s workforce to be re-employed and we wish the new business every success in the future.”
Akkaya added: “We were delighted to conclude this deal and rescue a much-admired business and we look forward to continuing to serve Hopkins customers for many years to come. We have taken on around 20 of the business’s former employees and are still recruiting, with a particular interest in highly skilled sheet metal workers and fabricators.”
Doug Robertson of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Jason Hall of Hilco Global Valuation Services acted for the joint administrators on the sale.
After 61 years of trading, Hopkins Catering Equipment lapsed into administration in November, with MD Victoria Hopkins telling Catering Insight: “This situation came about because of a multitude of reasons. The trading environment has not been great, especially in the fish and chip sector.
“Thanks to the harsh winter and hot summer, potato crops have been affected and costs have risen for fish and chip outlets, most of which are small, lifestyle businesses. Therefore they have been reluctant to place orders for equipment.
“The online trade is also very competitive, with small margins. We did have a healthy orderbook but unfortunately we hit a cash flow wall.”
She is not involved in the new venture, but wished the new owners well.
Matt Hopkins himself previously wrote on the National Federation of Fish Fryers’ Facebook page: “Since the recent sad events, the messages of support and encouragement from customers and suppliers alike across the industry have been truly amazing. I have never been prepared to accept that this was the end of a family business that I am incredibly proud of and worked tirelessly to achieve its resurrection.
“I have personally been in touch already with a number of previous Hopkins customers who bought frying ranges within the last year and assured them that the new company will be honouring their warranties. This will apply to all customers with frying ranges still in warranty.”