Creditors of Direct Catering Supplies were this morning given official notice that liquidation proceedings involving the Birmingham-based distributor and wholesaler have begun.
Insolvency specialist Butcher Woods wrote to suppliers informing them that a meeting of creditors will take place at its offices in Birmingham on Thursday 30 May.
The meeting will be an opportunity to view the company’s statement of affairs and formally appoint a liquidator.
News of the creditors’ notice caps a week of intense speculation about the Smethwick catering equipment provider’s trading position.
At the beginning of last week, visitors to the company’s website were greeted with a message saying that the website domain name had expired on 5 May.
An employee of the company told Catering Insight last Monday that it could not say when the site would be back up but insisted it was being redesigned. By Wednesday the company’s phone lines had stopped working.
Direct Catering Supplies operated a 13,000 square foot showroom at its head office in Smethwick, but suppliers who visited the premises at the end of last week found it locked up.
Managing director Akash Gupta could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.
As well as providing mainsteam catering equipment and refrigeration, Direct Catering specialised in the Asian market, supplying Tandoori clay ovens, Chinese wok cookers, heavy duty dim sum steamers and Indian-style cooking ranges.
One manufacturer claimed the company had come under severe competition from other online suppliers of catering equipment in recent times.
Direct Catering Supplies had been a longstanding member of CEDA.
A spokesperson for the association said: “CEDA cannot and will not comment on individual companies. However, as a strong and closely bonded membership organisation CEDA understands that at times trading in the current climate can be difficult and organisations sometimes need impartial and confidential advice. At CEDA we have an open door policy to all members who may need advice concerning trading issues and can help them by putting them in touch with the right and relevant supporting specialist.”