Golden Wonder gone for good

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Golden wonder, Lay's

Renowned UK crisp manufacturer Golden Wonder has filed for
bankruptcy following more than a decade of disappointing sales and
lack of direction.

The 60 year-old brand, famous for inventing the flavoured crisp in 1962, yesterday announced its demise after successive losses have left the company addled with debt.

Restructuring firm Kroll has stepped in to take administration of the ailing company, whose portfolio includes Nik-Naks, Wheat Crunchies and Ringos.

The administrators hope to find a home for the more famous snack brands, following several failed sell-off attempts late last year by Golden Wonder's parent company, the Yemeni Hayel Saeed Anam Group.

It is thought severe balance sheet losses may have put off prospective buyers.

But Kroll joint administrator Adrian Wolstenhome remains hopeful that either the entire business, or its most valuable divisions, may be sold on.

"Unfortunately, despite its well-known name and brands, Golden Wonder has suffered in recent years,"​ he said.

"We hope that the administration will provide further time to review the options available. With such well-known and well-liked brands, we very much hope that a sale of all or parts of the business can be secured."

Golden Wonder, which has changed hands numerous times over the years, cites the fiercely competitive UK crisps market as a major catalyst in its downfall.

In recent times rivals Bensons Crisps and Smiths Crisps have succumbed to industry pressure, with the former going into liquidation in 2001 and the latter being bought out by market leader Walkers.

Walkers, which now has more than 50 per cent market share, gradually ate away at Golden Wonder's leading margins to take the top spot in the mid-1990s with famous brands Doritos, Sensations and Quavers.

Golden Wonder found it hard to compete with the innovative company that was able to quickly capitalise on new consumer trends such as premium snacks and healthy eating alternatives.

Instead, the ailing firm tried a retro approach, marketing the traditional qualities of flavours it had invented in the 1960s.

Wolstenhome said: "The UK market is dominated by a single crisp manufacturer [Walkers] and Golden Wonder has found it difficult to compete against this leader's strength in the market place."

Golden Wonder suffered losses of £10.8m on sales of £87.8m in 2004, and it is expected to reveal more losses for last year. The figures have not been released yet, but the administrators confirm they are "significant"​.

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