Jobs saved as Thetford firm is sold

The HMC Health and Beauty team
The HMC Health and Beauty team

A Thetford business which went into administration earlier this month has now been sold.

The purchase of HMC Health & Beauty has been welcomed by its 110-strong workforce who had been facing an uncertain future.

The business, which is based at a 42,000sq ft facility in Howlett Way, and its assets now belong to Prestige Personal Care Ltd, a newly established firm whose directors have other businesses in the cosmetics and toiletries sector.

Joint administrators Julian Pitts and Bob Maxwell of Leeds-based Begbies Traynor were appointed to secure HMC’s sale on May 4.

Mr Pitt said: “It is very good news that HMC Health & Beauty has been acquired as a 
going concern by a purchaser with a strong track record in the sector.

“Not only does it mean that the business will continue to trade, safeguarding the livelihoods of the staff, but it also puts it on a more secure footing for the future.”

Breckland Council’s executive member for income and prosperity, Cllr Philip Cowen, said: “The news that a significant number, if not all, of the jobs in that particular company have been saved is absolutely welcome and it really, hopefully, underpins what we’re trying to do as a council to promote Thetford as a good place in which to do business.”

Cllr Jane Bishop, for the Thetford Priory ward, where HMC is based, said it was ‘marvellous’ the company had been saved and she hoped it could move forward in a ‘secure and positive’ way.

Cllr Jennifer Hollis, who represents the neighbouring Thetford Boudica ward, said: “I think it’s brilliant news for the workforce, and for the town as well. There are lot of local people working in that industry so I’m really pleased that’s 
gone through.”

Established as a contract manufacturing operation in 2000, HMC developed to offer a full service facility to brand owners across a broad range of toiletries and personal care products.

Its troubles started in 2013 when it lost a single, but significant customer after being acquired by a competitor.

Despite cash injections by shareholders, consequential trading losses, compounded by constraints on the company’s banking facilities, creditor pressure and, more recently, its first material bad debt 
are all said to have contributed to its severe cash flow problems.

Mr Pitt said business rescue and recovery firm Begbies Traynor undertook an ‘accelerated marketing exercise’ before HMC was put into administration which resulted in a pre-pack sale to an unconnected third party.

New owner Prestige Personal Care Ltd is listed on Companies House as having two directors, Mitchell Lawrence Field and Dilip Raichand Shah.

A correspondence address for the company is given as Gwent, in south-east Wales.