M&J Haulage Limited confirmed as the ’significant’ sugar contractor in administration yesterday
NFU Sugar has announced a meeting for any growers who were relying on M and J Haulage to harvest, load or haul their beet this campaign.
Growers should call NFU Sugar’s helpline on 0370 066 1974 to register to attend the meeting, which will be held tomorrow (October 18) in Newark.
NFU Sugar Chairman, Michael Sly said: “Our thoughts are with M and J’s employees and with everyone affected by this sad situation. M and J Haulage Ltd were pioneers of the Industry Harvest and Haulage Scheme – created to build best practice and efficiency in sugar beet harvesting, loading and haulage.
“M and J’s demise not only creates huge challenges for growers, who may now struggle to find a replacement contractor to harvest and deliver their beet, but also brings into question the effectiveness of the Industry Harvest and Haulage Scheme and its ability to deliver a sustainable supply chain from field to factory.
“We have noted British Sugar’s assertion that contingency plans are in place for such instances, and that they do not anticipate any significant delays due to the loss of M and J Haulage Ltd. NFU Sugar urges British Sugar to share their plans with growers as soon as possible.”
Mr Sly also outlined his concerns about other supply chain issues at British Sugar factories in the first few weeks of the campaign.
“Multiple breakdowns have already meant delays for growers in harvesting and hauling beet and do not instil confidence,” he said.
“We are calling on British Sugar to invest in its four factories and supply chain to ensure they operate effectively. This will go some way to ensuring the home grown sugar industry continues to thrive in the post-quota world.”
Chris Pole and Mark Orton from KPMG have been appointed joint administrators to M&J Haulage Limited, sugar beet handling company based in Snelland, Lincolnshire.
The company, which employs 24 people and a number of subcontractors, operated as an agricultural contracting business, specialising in the cultivation of sugar beet and other arable crops.
The company grew its own crops whilst also providing contract farming and haulage services to other customers in the East Midlands.
The administrators said it had been impacted by reduced contract volumes leading to a material downturn in profitability and subsequent cash flow issues and ,with growing creditor pressure, the inability to obtain further funding and in the absence of any committed increase in long-term orders, it was deemed that a viable business no longer existed.
Operations on site have been suspended and all employees have been sent home while the joint administrators assess the options available.
Chris Pole, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “The company had recently seen a decline in its order book, which led to significant pressure on its cashflow.
“Over the coming days, we will be assessing options for the business, including the possibility of resuming operations, while we explore a sale of the business and its assets.”
NFU sugar has confirmed a ‘significant contractor’ has gone into technical administration, which could impact growers and the current sugar beet campaign.
In a statement given at NFU council this week, sugar board chairman Michael Sly said the contractor, was ‘a pioneer’ in the industry harvesting and haulage scheme.
The union did not confirm the contractor’s name but said the contractor’s customers would be informed immediately.
Mr Sly said: “The business is highly regarded by growers for its professionalism and the service it has offered and it is therefore unfortunate that a commercial solution has not been found to date.
"There is a possibility that this may impact on the current campaign."
He advised any grower who believed they may have been affected and were worried to contact the NFU Sugar helpline on 03700 661 974.