Independent beer maker Black Sheep Brewery has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators after the search for a buyer or merger failed.
The Masham-based brand, which supplies pubs and retailers across the country, said it was taking the action in the best interests of its creditors. It follows news that Black Sheep received no offers amid a marketing exercise started in early April and designed to find a buyer or merger partner to alleviate funding concerns.
Shares in the London Stock Exchange-listed business have been suspended as Black Sheep filed notice to appoint Kristian Shuttleworth and Clare Boardman of Teneo Financial Advisory Limited as administrators. When announcing it was searching for a buyer, Black Sheep said it had been experiencing strong sales volumes but pointed to the health of the hospitality market post-Covid and consumer spending impacting on funding options.
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The firm’s most recent set of accounts, to the end of March 2022, show turnover of £14.2m and operating losses of more than £903,000. At the time, it said that while pub groups were seeing recovery after pandemic restrictions, the impact on breweries was lingering – an observation supported in recent research.
Charlene Lyons, chief executive and executive chair of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “The directors have done their utmost to deliver new investment into the existing corporate structure. This has not been possible, but we are progressing with our discussions around a sale of the business. Black Sheep Brewery has great products, a compelling brand and is supported by a dedicated team of people who are capable of delivering great results for the business in a different structure.
“We are focused on achieving continuity of the business and employment and thank everyone for their support so far. We have taken the decision to protect the business and its creditors, during this period, by filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators.
“The business has been hit very hard by the pandemic and the sudden rise in all costs. Covid loans were useful but, in the end, could not sufficiently compensate for reduced cash flow in the long term. It has been the perfect storm, but the team are confident that with a new structure Black Sheep will thrive and grow as the team set course in a new direction.”
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