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Wigan pie firm sold in shock deal

Wigan pie firm sold in shock deal

Pooles Pies, which is known for being one of the most iconic brands in Wigan, has been sold to a Yorkshire-based company in a surprise deal.

The firm is the UK's oldest pie and pastry brand, but was placed into administration earlier this week after a period of loss-making for the business, despite winning a batch of new contracts with some of the UK's major supermarket chains.

Millionaire owner David Whelan, who also owns Wigan Athletic Football Club, is thought to have agreed a deal with Neil Court-Johnston, the former boss of rival company Holland's Pies in March last year, but it was never formally completed.

The sale was handled by joint administrators Darren Brookes and Gary Corbett of Milner Boardman.

Mr Corbett told the Manchester Evening News: “The company has faced a difficult few months and has continued to make losses. Business forecasts prepared by the company gave no imminent indication of a return to profitability leaving no option but to either close the company down or find a quick sale."

Control of the firm will now pass over the Pennines to the Leeds-based organisation Country Style Foods.

Mr Whelan said that he was still confident that staff at the company's Pemberton factory would not be losing their jobs and explained his reasoning for the decision.

He was also critical of the way in which the firm had been run under the guidance of Mr Court-Johnston, claiming that it had run up increased levels of costs, much to his concern.

He told the Wigan Evening Post: "I had kept my debenture on the property and machinery so I took the company into administration. If I had not it would have had to pay another £2m to save it.

"But now it will be coming out of administration again in the next day or two and will be in safe hands. The buyers are two brothers who make pies in Leeds and Manchester who have a very solid company."

 

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