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EDITIONS
Monday, 10 June, 2002, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Jobs go at Albert Fisher
Frozen foods
Albert Fisher was a leader in frozen foods
Collapsed food group Albert Fisher is closing its Kings Lynn factory, and at least 320 jobs will be axed with immediate effect.

The administrators told the workforce on Monday afternoon that all jobs would go and the factory's assets be sold off.

On Friday, administrators KPMG had suspended operations and ordered to mothball the company's frozen foods division, warning that job losses would be imminent. .

KPMG had hoped to sell the food group as a going concern, but all attempts to sell the business have fallen through.

Joint administrator receiver Mick McLoughlin said: "It is a great shame after the huge amount of work that has been put in by the employees and management that a sale of the business as a going concern could not be concluded."

Talks over the sale of Albert Fisher's seafood and chilled foods operations are still under way, with offers expected by the end of this week.

Albert Fisher, which supplies frozen and chilled foods to major UK supermarkets, was forced into administration last month with debts of more than 100m after crisis talks with creditors failed.

Reversal of fortune

The company enjoyed a spell of spectacular growth during the 1980s, reaching a valuation of 784m as investors snapped up Albert Fisher stock.

But it failed to recover convincingly from a series severe setbacks during the early 1990s downturn.

Abortive disposal and takeover operations later in the decade further dented investor confidence in the firm.

Recent declines in the price of fish and frozen foods have added to the company's woes.

Albert Fisher's troubled frozen foods business, based in King's Lynn, Norfolk, is the largest supplier of frozen vegetables to the UK retail and food manufacturing industries.

The company employs a total of about 3,000 staff.

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