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A producer of honey-based products including craft gins has revealed plans to call in administrators after failing to secure long-term funding and a sale of the business.
Oxfordshire-based British Honey Company (BHC), best known for its Keepr’s and Two Birds brands, said its shares on the Aquis exchange had been suspended pending the formal appointment of partners at FRP Advisory.
The company, which employs 80 people at its factory and warehouse in neighbouring Buckinghamshire, was founded in 2014 as a honey producer but later expanded as the craze for flavoured sprits, including craft gin, gathered pace both at home and abroad.
BHC had warned in December last year that a £750,000 loan it had agreed would only tide it over for so long.
“At that time the board made clear that further funding would need to be secured early this year, which the company has attempted to identify since this date, but it has proved extremely challenging, with no offer of funding support being forthcoming to date”, its statement said.
“Significant costs savings have been made in the business in order to conserve cash. Notwithstanding these cost savings, BHC will require further funding by end of March 2023, based on current management forecasts.
“Regrettably, the board has concluded that it is required to take the necessary steps to preserve value for creditors.”
It is understood there are still hopes the business can be sold as a going concern given the level of interest last year when a formal sale was an option under a strategic review.
Its last set of accounts showed sales of almost £8m during 2021, according to Refinitiv data.
But it is believed funding woes last year, coinciding with the cost of living crisis, saw the company cut 30 jobs as part of its cost reductions.