Sad update after Sara Lee collapsed – as administrator makes a desperate plea to Aussies
The operator of much-loved bakery brand Sara Lee has urged Australians to buy more frozen deserts as the bankrupt company owes $55 million to creditors.
The company went into voluntary administration last month, managed by FTI Consulting’s Vaughan Strawbridge, due to higher costs to make and ship products and a drop in sales as Australians tightened their belts due to inflation.
Mr Strawbridge said he has seen interest from about 60 parties considering buying the company. Increased consumer demand could save the iconic Australian label.
“We would like to see an increase in sales because that obviously makes our job a lot easier… The more Australians support us by buying Sara Lee, the better,” Mr Strawbridge said. The Sydney Morning Herald.
Suppliers and lenders owe the bulk of the company’s debt, which Mr Strawbridge confirmed was between $50 million and $55 million, while employees are owed around $2.7 million in the form of furlough entitlements and redundancy payments.
The operators of much-loved Australian frozen dessert brand Sara Lee have urged consumers to pick up one of the treats the next time they go to the supermarket, in a bid to save the brand
Mr Strawbridge is taking non-binding indicative offers for the business until December 1 and will then undergo a shortlisting process during which potential buyers will carry out due diligence.
Final bids are expected to be submitted in mid-January next year, before a buyer is likely to be announced next month.
“Our preference is to retain the business as a whole rather than splitting it up, and that generally delivers greater value to all creditor groups,” Mr Strawbridge said.
Among the creditors owed significant cash are Confoil Containers, Graphic Packaging International, Blenners Transport, Frutex Australia and Cadbury owner Mondelez.
Mr Strawbridge was also the administrator of Australian slimming brand Jenny Craig when it went into administration earlier this year and no buyer could be found.
That company, founded in Melbourne in 1983, grew into a household name as one of the largest weight management companies in the world, with ambassadors such as Mariah Carey and Spice Girl Mel B.
It had approximately 600 centers worldwide with more than 500 locations in North America, with its core services being one-on-one personal support with nutrition and lifestyle planning.
Australians have called on Sara Lee not to go the same way and remain on supermarket shelves.
“Let’s save Sara Lee. It’s all our fault,” said Sunrise host Nat Barr.
Perth mayor and TV personality Basil Zempilas added on the same program: “It’s the end of an icon and an era.”
“If we all went to the supermarket and took home a cheesecake we might be able to save the company, one Australian at a time.”
Nat Barr joined the bandwagon to save Sara Lee during a panel discussion with Basil Zempilas and Amanda Rose
Iconic frozen dessert company Sara Lee, which once had celebrity Sophie Monk (pictured) as its advertising face, has entered administration
Co-host Matt Shirvington described it as a sad day for Australia, adding: “I’m going to buy one of these when I go home.”
There was also commentary online about the collapse and what could have caused it.
‘The taste of my childhood! Always still a little frozen. Someone has to swoop in and save them!’ said one Australian.
Another added: ‘That’s so wrong, another Aussie company has become so sad that their products are beautiful, I’m going to miss it.’
But many others were not surprised when they heard about Sara Lee’s death.
‘If all these companies didn’t raise prices, people would be able to afford more. I’ve stopped buying these ‘luxury’ things because we just can’t afford them now!’ another woman wrote.
“If you think about it, they haven’t done any commercials in forever… (not even a Coca-Cola commercial). Nowadays it is a big mistake not to advertise,” said another.
“The Australian Sara Lee company has a long history of producing desserts, including frozen cheesecakes, pies, crumbles and ice cream, using high-quality, authentic ingredients,” the administrators said in an earlier statement.
‘The Australian-based production company trades as Sara Lee under license from the global trademark owner, with rights to operate in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the Middle East.
‘The appointment to the company is to pursue a restructuring and sale of the Sara Lee business while continuing to operate.’
The bakery’s Australian branch was founded in 1971 on the NSW Central Coast, while the company was first founded in Chicago, US, by Charles Lubin, who named his bakery after his daughter Sara Lee in the 1930s.