The Australian arm of international dessert brand Sara Lee has gone into voluntary administration. The baked goods company has served 52 years of frozen cheesecakes, crumbles and ice-creams.
Voluntary administration is when a company is unable to pay its debts and so appoints an administrator to take control.
Administrators have now been appointed for Sara Lee to restructure and sell the business while it continues operations.
Established on the Central Coast in NSW, the Australian Sara Lee business has been selling desserts since 1971. The manufacturing facility currently employs more than 200 staff.
McCain Foods acquired the business in 2013 for $82 million.
In 2021, New Zealand private equity firm South Island Office (SIO) bought the business for an estimated $95 million.
Business isn’t sweet
At the time of Sara Lee’s transition to SIO, the brand reportedly occupied over 50% of the Australian and New Zealand retail frozen desserts market.
Documents filed to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission reportedly showed the business made nearly $30 million in profits in the 2021/22 financial year.
However, despite strong trading, the documents indicated the business had become “reliant on the continued support from its shareholders and banker”.
The company did not say what specifically caused its recent downfall.
FTI Consulting are the voluntary administrators for Sara Lee.
Administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said in a statement FTI “are immediately commencing a process to sell or restructure the business and continue its long history of manufacturing in Australia.”