The company that bought Ministry of Pudding – which may close its dessert factory in Torquay – is trying to claim £15million in damages from the previous owners, it has been revealed.
Mademoiselle Desserts, which entered into an agreement to buy Taunton-based Ministry of Cake and Torquay-based Ministry of Pudding on December 23 last year, has filed a claim with the High Court of Justice in London.
Mademoiselle Desserts claims that former chief executive Christopher Ormrod, finance director Jeremy French, sales director Stephen Braithwaite and operations director John Anderson misrepresented the true financial position of the company, enabling the transaction to go ahead.
The French dessert producer and supplier claims that reports setting out the financial details had been reviewed ‘in detail’ by the respondent who had ‘confirmed in writing the factual accuracy’. But it claims that these details were not accurate.
Mademoiselle Desserts is claiming for the difference between what it paid and what it believes is the true value.
It is also claiming for costs which are expected to run into millions of pounds.
Christopher Filor, who is representing Braithwaite and Anderson, said his clients did not wish to share their defence. He said: “We take the view that the claims are very weak and the defence, which obviously denies all the claims being made, is premised on that basis.”
Ormrod and French’s legal representatives did not respond to DevonLive.com’s request for a statement.
The case is not expected to be heard for around a year-and-a-half. The outcome will therefore have no bearing on the future of the Torquay factory. Mademoiselle Desserts is expected to make a decision on whether or not to close the Torquay factory this month.
If the decision is made to close the factory in Combe Road, it is expected to happen in the first quarter of next year.
Around 37 people are employed at the site. Some have been offered roles at the company’s sites in Taunton, Somerset, and Corby, Northamptonshire.
The company also has a site in Maidenhead, Berkshire, plus five sites in France and one in Holland.
Source: Devon live
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