A FAMILY furniture business which went into administration this year will now see most of its stock sold off.

Specialist asset consultants ES Group will sell the remaining stock, machinery and production lines of Woodberry Bros & Haines Ltd, which traded in Highbridge since 1949, employing around 175 people.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was app-ointed as administrators on July 2, but has been unsuccessful in finding a buyer, so to regain funds for creditors it has instructed ES Group to sell what is necessary.

Three separate sales are being conducted to realise the optimum value for the assets; a sale of the company’s product stock will start in the coming weeks with a private treaty sale at the end of this month for the 12 main production lines to a worldwide catalogue of potential buyers. 

An online auction of the wider plant and equipment will start in early November with a large quantity of woodworking machinery among the lots.

Simon Cornelius-Light, divisional director in ES Group’s Machinery & Business Assets team for the South-West, said: “By marketing the assets to different groups of potential buyers and via different means, some with an international reach, we hope to realise the maximum possible sum.

“We’re confident assets from a business of the standing of Woodberry Bros & Haines Ltd will attract interest from the international furniture manufacturing industry.”

Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Martin Cox said: “I’d been hopeful there was a rescue effort being put together, but sadly that’s not the case.

“I commiserate with those unfortunate to lose their jobs – something must be done to get more jobs into the area to compensate for the loss of such a huge manufacturer.”