Administrators appointed to QV Realisations following surging costs and ‘volatile’ potato pricing

AH Worth Group CEO Duncan Worth said it was

AH Worth Group CEO Duncan Worth said it was “a very sad day” for the business

Lincolnshire potato packer and processor QV Realisations has ceased trading, putting around 200 jobs at risk.

The company, formerly known as AH Worth Ltd, has appointed Paul Meadows and Matt Cowlishaw from corporate consultancy Teneo as joint administrators.

The move affects the supplier’s fresh and prepared operations in Holbeach, Lincolnshire. According to the supplier’s most recent accounts, its main sales channels were to major UK supermarkets, as well as home delivery. 

AH Worth Group’s operations at its main site in Fosdyke, Lincolnshire, and across all its farming businesses, continue to trade as normal.

‘Significant losses’

At QV Realisations approximately 200 staff have been made redundant, but a “skeleton team” has remained to help administrators with the “wind down of operations”, Meadows said.

According to Teneo, AH Worth Ltd (as it was formerly known) has suffered significant losses in its last two years of trading.

On Companies House, the company posted a £1.9m loss in the year to 31 May 2022 and a £6.6m loss the year after.

This is due to a combination of “volatile” potato prices and inflated operating costs that were not fully recovered in its selling prices, the administrators said.

Meanwhile, in its accounts for the year to 31 May 2023, QV Realisations noted that extreme weather events (high temperatures and heavy rainfall) hit its potato yields “meaning more free buy purchasing at expensive prices”.

The company also highlighted the impact of “raw material input prices, labour cost and availability, energy price and transport costs”, predominantly brought about by the Ukraine crisis.

Efforts have been made to find a buyer for the business, but Teneo reported that at the time of writing no “funded deliverable offers” had been received.

AH Worth Group CEO Duncan Worth said: “This is a very sad day for our business and especially all our colleagues affected at Holbeach.

”This is not a decision that we have taken lightly and one we only took after exploring all other possible options.”

Reasons for optimism

Of its other operations, Worth stressed: “Our remaining businesses across Fosdyke and the farms are profitable. With continued focus and the support of the Worth family, we are confident that we will continue to build a strong and successful future for AH Worth Group.

“We have an excellent portfolio of products, with end-to-end supply chains. This will continue to deliver a unique offering for our core customers.”

AH Worth was founded in 1895. It produces and supplies potatoes, sweetcorn, leeks, kale and spinach.

Striking a positive tone, Worth added: “As we have always done, we will continue to work with our customers to look at how we can develop, grow and invest in our business for years to come.”