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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 21:21 GMT
Toffee company 'in receivership'
McCowan's factory
The company is based in Stenhousemuir
Toffee producer McCowan's is said to have gone into receivership after getting into financial difficulties.

No-one at the company headquarters in Stenhousemuir, near Falkirk, was prepared to comment on the reports.

Receivers said that the company would continue trading as efforts are made to find a buyer prepared to take over the business as a going concern.

Local MSP Denis Canavan said it was a shock to the 100 employees of the firm, which makes Highland Toffee.

Graham Martin and Laurie Manson of PricewaterhouseCoopers were appointed joint receivers on Thursday.

Mr Martin said: "The company has an established and respected brand name and strong positions in both the chew bar and bonbon markets.

McCowan's is one of the best known manufacturers of confectionery in Scotland and the appointment of receivers must have come as a shock to the 100 employees
Denis Canavan
Local MSP

"Despite internal restructuring, the company has experienced difficult trading conditions, broadly caused by increases in raw material prices arising from a poor wheat harvest and adverse currency movements.

"It is proposed that the company will continue to trade while we aim to achieve a sale of the business as a going concern."

Mr Canavan, an independent MSP, said: "All hope is not yet lost.

"It may be of some consolation to know that the receivers propose that the company will continue to trade in the hope a buyer will take over the business.

"McCowan's is one of the best known manufacturers of confectionery in Scotland and the appointment of receivers must have come as a shock to the 100 employees."

And he added: "Every effort must be made to achieve a sale of the business and to save as many jobs as possible."

Management buy-out

The firm's founder Andrew McCowan was born near Crieff in the late 19th Century.

He established his confectionary business in Stenhousemuir in the early 1920s, eventually launching its best-known product, Highland Toffee.

The company was sold to Nestle in the 1960s and was the subject of a management buy-out in the late 1980s before being bought by Dutch company Phideas in the mid 1990s.

There was another management buy out in 2003, and last year a 125,000 Regional Selective Assistance Grant was awarded for an expansion project.


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