Heather Mills has swooped for the assets of her plant-based business VBites, sealing a rescue deal with administrators worth £1m.
Founded in 1993, VBites is a manufacturer and wholesaler of plant-based meat and cheese. The company operates from two manufacturing sites in Peterlee, County Durham, and Corby, Northamptonshire.
VBites fell into administration in December, with James Clark and Howard Smith from Interpath Advisory appointed joint administrators.
The company had recently seen increased pressure on cashflow due to the impact of rising raw material costs and energy prices, as well as a softening of consumer demand for alternative protein products in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis.
The directors sought to explore their options, including making attempts to secure additional funding. Unfortunately, however, a funding agreement was unable to be reached, leaving the directors to seek the appointment of administrators.
Following an accelerated sales process run by Interpath Advisory pre-Christmas, according to reports seen by The Grocer, a £1m bid from the Mills-owned Vegan Solo Consulting beat five other offers.
Speaking to The Grocer, Mills said she had re-employed a large amount of staff affected and was taking charge of the business.
In a statement on LinkedIn, Heather Mills said: “I was devastated when VBites was forced, unnecessarily with 3 days notice, into administration. It was agreed between both shareholders that we would always give each other three months notice, knowing the figures 6 months ahead set for the company, so I was doubly shocked that it went straight into administration, even though I gave viable solutions.
“But I strongly believed that the next-generation technology that VBites had developed and the work it had done still had a huge role to play in assisting the transition of the food market to a healthier and more sustainable place. I was also not happy being told that many of my loyal and hard-working staff were losing their jobs.
“I was cut out of everything.
“This is why I have chosen to resurrect the company myself, at great personal expense, and take control of the operations personally, moving back to the North-East to ensure that we are still able to make a positive contribution to the future of our global food economy.
“We have already developed a version 2.0 of plant-based food, soon to launch, that we believe will be a market mover and will help all of those people attempting to make a flexitarian or plant-based/Vegan transition achieve their goals more easily, both with variety and deliciousness.”