Wool handling operations of Kent Wool Growers (KWG) have been sold to the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) following the Ashford firm’s move into administration.
The future of the rest of the business, which has 4,000 members and employs 48 people is unknown following the KWG board’s decision to appoint KPMG as administrators earlier this month.
Two members, who asked to remain anonymous, told Farmers Guardian they were shocked the board had chosen to ‘pull the plug’ on the firm as they were in discussions to move distribution to another premises and maintain the retail side of the business.
One said: “There are rumours being spread that we are in liquidation, we are not. We are concerned the board has not consulted with members and there will be a lot of members who still do not know what has happened.”
KWG offers a wide range of farming services, in addition to owning three retail outlets in Ashford and Eastry in Kent and Handcross, West Sussex.
The stores sell farming products ranging from clothing and footwear, to equine supplies, feed, medicines, shotguns and shooting accessories, as well as a fuel brokerage service.
Following their appointment, KPMG will continue to trade the business and assets of KWG, with a view to securing a purchaser for all or parts of the business as a going concern.
Steve Absolom, director and joint administrator at KPMG, said: “We have received a number of expressions of interest in the business and assets, and so our efforts are focussed on achieving a going concern sale which will secure as many jobs as possible.
“The stores remain open and KWG continues to support the farming community as best it can in these circumstances.”
A BWMB spokesman added: “KWG has provided a wool handling service to British Wool on a sub-contract basis for many years.
"Following the recent opening of the new British Wool collection centre in Ropley, Hampshire, bringing the Ashford operation under our ownership and control further emphasises British Wool’s ongoing commitment to providing a quality, reliable and effective service to all producers in South East England.
“British Wool will continue to operate from the existing depot in Ashford and to market wool on producers’ behalf returning the true market value for their wool and wishes to thank all producers for their continued support of their organisation.”
To arrange wool deliveries, producers should contact the depot direct on 01233 622444.
Any other queries, producers should contact British Wool’s producer services team on 01274 688666.