Bradford-based dealer Waltons Catering Equipment had accrued significant debts by the time it was forced into liquidation last month, according to the business’ statement of affairs just published on Companies House.
A total of £862,621.16 is owed to the distributor’s 155 creditors, with trade and expense creditors comprising £726,535.16 of that number.
Aside from the £136,086.00 owed to HMRC, the biggest trade creditor is tableware manufacturer, Steelite International, where Waltons ran up £64,000.26 of debt.
Other major creditors include Hobart UK, which is owed £37,642.21; Nisbets Group company Uropa Distribution, with £35,547.00 of credit; Utopia Tableware owed £34,130.60; Blue Seal with £24,725.92; BGL Rieber at £23,135.20; Rational owed £22,092.10; and tableware supplier Artis at £20,808.76.
Waltons closed its doors on 19 March, officially appointing Path Business Recovery as the liquidator on 3 April.
After news first broke, a statement provided by operations director Patrick Dooling, also on behalf of MD Clive Walton and sales director Alex Walton detailed to Catering Insight: “During a record year of sales, with all our 27 staff in 2019, entering into 2020 the market took a substantial downturn which continued further into February.
“To compound the issues, a number of our larger customers were behind on payments.”
Dooling explained: “The directors took measures in February to mitigate the situation by making redundancies and reducing overheads.
“Unfortunately we were given back word on a number of large projects which were pencilled in, resulting in sales staying flat.
“Since the redundancies the sales continued to plummet; even with a reduced staffing level there was not enough work for the staff that remained.”
He further reported that other measures were put in place to save the business: “We entered into discussions with a number of interested parties to purchase the company which looked very positive from the meetings we had.”
However: “Unfortunately this was when the coronavirus situation took a turn for the worse and the interested parties pulled out from discussions.
“Add this to a number of emails stating customers were not able to pay their bills, a number of customers liquidating and the old debts, it was clear that the situation was untenable.”
The family business was established by Arthur Walton in 1921 and in 1940 the family moved to Bradford where they diversified into wholesale. The business thrived throughout the 80s and 90s with substantial growth, then generating a record sales year in 2016.
Operated from 10,000ft2 premises based just outside of Bradford, the headquarters housed over £500,000 of stock at any one time.