The sale of the haulage arm of a St Helens farming company saved 42 jobs, according to its administrator.

However, a year-long battle to survive the financial effects of the pandemic has ended with the closure of T. Wilson & Sons (Farmers).

Rushtons Insolvency was appointed to the business on 14 June after what it described as “two years of very difficult trading”.

Established 45 years ago, the 1,800-acre farming division grew fresh vegetables and salad produce across Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire for customers including Aldi, Booths and Hello Fresh.

Its profitable haulage arm ran 25 lorries and 40 temperature-controlled trailers and Nicola Baker at Rushtons said this was sold off to customer Len Wright Salads last month.

But the directors were unable to secure a sustainable future for the farming side and it ceased trading with the loss of 35 jobs.

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Baker said: “The last few years have seen an unprecedented squeeze on many farms and aspects of food producing businesses and, sadly, despite the strongly performing specialist haulage business, it was simply not possible for the company to keep trading as it was in the current economic climate.”

Len Wright Salads has now appointed former haulage director Rob Wilson to continue running the transport business now under its ownership.

“The efforts of the Wilson family and a key customer of the haulage business have saved a significant proportion of the jobs involved and the new business continues to provide haulage services for customers following its sale,” Baker added.

“However, the directors had a responsibility to cease trading and protect the creditors of the unviable farming side of the business.”

The administrator has appointed Eddisons Commercial to auction the remaining agricultural assets of the farming business in the coming weeks.