UK chilled haulier collapses into administration

Logistics company EVCL Chill, the cold-chain subsidiary of the EV Cargo Group, has fallen into administration. PwC has been appointed as the administrator of EVCL Chill Ltd, EVCL One Limited, EVCL Two Limited and EVCL Three Limited. The current driver shortage affecting the UK was cited as one of the reasons for the company’s failure.

EVCL Chill operates primarily in the chilled food logistics market, storing and delivering products for a number of retail customers – including Sainsbury’s and Asda – and suppliers to the UK food retail market. Headquartered in Alfreton, Derbyshire, the business employs 1,092 full-time employees operating from warehouses and depots in key locations across the UK including, Daventry, Alfreton, Rochdale, Crick, Bristol, and Penrith.

EVCL Chill was formerly known as NFT Distribution and purchased by investment firm EmergeVest in 2014. In 2016 NFT Distribution acquired chilled food and drink 3PL NR Evans.

The business operates 374 trucks and 432 trailers across its transport network, alongside more than 20,000 pallets of warehousing capacity, servicing blue-chip food retailers and manufacturers nationwide.

In the period to December 2020, turnover at the business exceeded £167m and was cash generative. However, EVCL Chill has struggled with a loss of a number of key customers and acute driver shortages during 2021 which given its fixed cost base, created significant liquidity challenges. A number of sale options were explored but generated limited interest and management took the difficult decision to enter administration.

658 roles and a number of services have been transferred to key customers under their contractual arrangements, which provides continuity for parts of EVCL Chill and those customers. The administration does not affect other businesses within the wider EV Cargo Group, which continue to trade as before.

Eddie Williams, joint administrator at PwC, said: “This has been a very difficult situation and involved intense discussions with key stakeholders on an accelerated basis to get to this position. As businesses move from survival mode to recovery, the financial climate is still very volatile.

“I am pleased that at least 658 roles will continue in a sector that is already facing many difficulties and challenges around inventory, personnel and the wider supply chain. Some vital continuity and stability has been ensured for a number of EVCL Chill’s stakeholders.

“We will continue to fully support all affected staff members during this difficult time.”

Creditors mentioned by the administrator include HMRC, the UK’s tax office.

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