Lines stopped at Rossa – which produced Italian-style ice cream, and more recently yogurt, since 1896 – last December, and corporate recovery specialists Begbies Trayner were appointed shortly afterwards to oversee an asset-based sale.
Joint administrator Ravi Sembi told FoodManufacture.co.uk today that a deal was struck with Yorkshire-based Payne’s late on Monday and formally completed yesterday.
Local job prospects
Sembi was unable to confirm whether Payne’s Dairies would be re-employing former staff from Rossa, but said the dairy firm had expressed a desire to restart production – albeit not of Italian ice cream – at the facility and create new jobs locally.
“Payne’s Dairies does have plans to start producing again, but my understanding is that the focus is on yogurt, given that this fits with the company’s status as a substantial Yorkshire milk supplier,” he said.
Payne’s md Charles Payne said: “We are extremely happy to acquire this well-established dairy products manufacturer, which is a welcome addition to Payne’s Dairies. We intend to manufacture and produce quality yoghurt in Leicester that will be a new product offering for our company.”
Wrong customer mix
During the good times Rossa employed around 30 staff at its Meynell Road premises, although latterly numbers fell to 19, all of whom were made redundant just before Christmas when production – primarily for wholesale customers – stopped.
Prior to the sale Sembi said that, despite a reasonable turnover, discussions with Rossa’s former directors revealed their fears about anticipated price increases from suppliers that the firm couldn’t pass on to customers.
He added that the firm had perhaps miscalculated its customer mix, with unduly low prices gained on contracts to major customers within the Asian foods market.
Originally called R. Rossa & Sons, the firm was renamed Rossa Dairy Products when it was bought out of administration in November 2007.
Headquartered in Boroughbridge, Payne’s Dairies provides raw and processed milk and cream to wholesalers, manufacturers, catering and retail outlets nationwide.