Kent burger maker collapses under debt

Burger, sausage and pastry maker Canterbury Foods has finally had its chips, handing over to administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers after four years of faltering sales.

The loss-making meat processing division was the first to go, sold to privately-owned Tranfield Foods before Christmas for £4.5m.

Former chief executive Paul Ainsworth said the cost of beef had risen 15-20% during the past 12 months, while burger sales had fallen.

It had proved impossible to pass the rising costs on to customers, prompting a profits warning in July 2005.

Sales in the previous six months had fallen to £11.7m, turning a forecast profit into a net loss. The company had not been in profit for four years.

The pie and sausage roll manufacturing plants at Sheppey and Whitstable in Kent and at Bridgend in South Wales have also been sold to management.