It’s business as usual at the Countrywide store in Crewkerne, for the time being, after the Countrywide Farmers Retail business went into administration on Tuesday March 6th. David Pike, Mark Orton and William Wright, partners of KPMG LLP have been appointed to act as administrators of the Company and will determine the appropriate course of action and future for the business.
In October last year, the Board of Directors at Countrywide Farmers Plc announced that it had agreed terms to sell its Retail business to Mole Valley Farmers Ltd, which was subject to a review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA is a non-ministerial government department in the UK, responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities. Having completed Phase 1 of their enquiries into the merger, they made the decision recently to proceed to Phase 2, an in-depth investigation which can take up to six months to complete.
A statement from the Directors of Countrywide Farmers Plc reads: “The Board of Countrywide Farmers Plc has carefully considered the implications of this extended time frame and has discussed options with Mole Valley Farmers Ltd to continue a transaction through a Phase 2 process. After receiving extensive professional advice, the Board has concluded that it will be unable to meet its financial obligations for this extended period of time.” The Countrywide Farmers retail business trades from 48 stores in the country and employs over 700 members of staff.