New owner for Caledonian Marts business

The troubled Caledonian Marts (Stirling) Ltd operation has been brought out of administration by local farming and livestock business JH Gilvear & Sons for an undisclosed sum.

The marts business, which had been seeking to raise funds for several months after having to write off £4m of unrecoverable debt, went into administration on Monday.

The deal with the Gilvear family business brings a new company into operation – Caledonian Marts Ltd – and means livestock producers in the area will continue to have the choice of two marts in Stirling. The second is run by United Auctions, which had expressed an interest in buying the Caledonian operation.

See also: Future of Caledonian Marts to be decided this week

All employees will transfer to the new company and there would be no interruption to trade, said administrator Andrew Davison, who was appointed with Sam Woodward, both of Ernst & Young LLP, on Monday 20 April.

The 3,000 farmer-owners were unsecured creditors and it was not expected they would see any proceeds from the sale, said a spokesman for the administrators.

Caledonian Marts will continue to run Oban Livestock Group’s market at Oban. A new board of directors has been appointed with former operations manager John Kyle as managing director and Doune farmer Niall Bowser as chairman.

“It’s still early days, but I would like to see a practical bolstering of our auctioneering staff with a view to having a much greater presence on farm and drawing buyers and sellers to the market,” said Mr Bowser, who also wants to investigate further development of specialist areas of marketing such as show cattle, native breed sales, butchers’ cattle and possibly breeding sheep sales.

“Of course I would also like to see progressive increase in turnover, with a view to some modernisation of the premises.”

The Caledonian Marts business draws stock from all over Scotland and in its most recent accounts (year ended May 2013) showed turnover of £40m. At the end of November it owed about £3m to the Royal Bank of Scotland and had loans of another £777,716 from its 3,000 farmer-members.

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